In my experience, not all startups have a booze problem, but many use it as a “perk”. I think in general, the erosion of work/life balance, where people go to work, do their work, and then leave to go home and not think about work, is the root cause.
Providing “perks” like alchohol or games (which really get hardly used) is a cheap way to distract workers from the fact that they shouldn’t be living their lives at the workplace.
Work is a means by which we enable ourselves to do other things that bring us joy. The unspoken “rule” has always been that you go to work to earn a wage, so that you can afford to do the things outside of work that bring you enrichment.
Startups, by working incessantly and driving their employees to their mental and sometimes physical limits essentially treat people not as willing participants in growing a company, but as expendable assets that are to be used up and then ultimately cast away. The throwaway culture of US Society taken to a logical extreme