There was a line, “He was not one for two-Perrier lunch,” in the eulogy for a British politician who made a great contribution to the formation of E.U. system.

Also there is the following passage in the co-authored book, The World's Business Cultures and How to Unlock Them, page 174, by Barry Tomalin and ‎Mike Nicks:

Like many other aspects of American life, business entertaining and socializing is often informal. Americans tend to eat early, with lunch at around noon and dinner at six. The 'two-Perrier' lunch is increasingly the norm, and working lunches over sandwiches in the office are common. Heavy or enthusiastic drinking is frowned on amongst Americans, but tolerated in visiting Britons.

I assume that 'two-Perrier' lunch’ means a light lunch consisted of light meal like sandwiches and each one bottles of Perrier for two.

Is the word, 'two-Perrier' lunch’ very common in both U.S. and U.K. as the authors say ‘increasingly the norm’? What is it like? Does ‘two Perrier” mean one Perrier for each of two persons?

Is it “One-Perrier” lunch when we eat simple lunch alone, which we call 孤食(koshoku)a ‘solitary lunch’ in Japanese?

  • 8
    I imagine that this is a play on the phrase a two martini lunch where the two Perrier lunch is a playful way to talk about a non-alcoholic lunch.
    – Jim
    Jan 13, 2015 at 4:15
  • I don't think it's a buzzword. I doubt people invite each other for a two-Perrier lunch. Unless you mean something else by a buzzword. Jan 13, 2015 at 4:32
  • 1
    The cited book was published in the UK in 2007. I'm not at all sure that "two-Perrier lunch" every caught on as a catch-phrase in the United States, though undoubtedly some American at some point used it in front of one or both British authors of this book.
    – Sven Yargs
    Jan 13, 2015 at 6:04
  • 1
    If you want a buzz you need something stronger than Perrier.
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 13, 2015 at 12:50

1 Answer 1


Two-Perrier lunch means that alcohol is not consumed at a business lunch, as it once was.

This expression is a play on “two-martini lunch” (or even “three-martini” lunch.

I would say the expression is not common in US English. At least I had never seen it, and it only has 44 Google hits, but it is immediately understandable.

Interestingly, the phrase does seem to be a few decades old since one of those 44 Google hits is to a 1989 Philly newspaper article stating:

At the trendy Magnolia Cafe on Locust Street, the two-or-more-martini lunch has given way to the two-Perrier lunch.

  • 1
    Agreed. As a native Am E speaker (New Yorker) I've never heard that term, though the term "3 drink lunch" certainly was part of the lexicon, esp. in the 80's and 90's when I was 'closer' to Corporate America. I'd agree it's a symbol of the shift where getting back to work 'hammered' or 'sloshed' (one of my favorite terms for sloppy drunk) is not acceptable as once upon a time it might have been (for management that is - peeons rarely/never could get away w/ that..)
    – JoelAZ
    Jan 13, 2015 at 8:28
  • 2
    Perrier was also enjoying a period of being particularly fashionable among the yuppy set in the late 80s, so that it was the particular soft-drink opted for in the earliest example you found is perhaps due to that.
    – Jon Hanna
    Jan 13, 2015 at 12:37
  • @JonHanna Yes, Perrier was the sparkling water of choice in the UK and New York (I never ventured beyond the Big Apple) during the heady days when Yuppies and their kind made lunching and dining out a far less gastronomic occasion than it had been in the postwar period. Perrier was always the market-leader in France but now the Italian San Pellegreno is tops, having ousted the iconic green bottle from the tables of fine restaurants in NY, London, Hong Kong, Bangkok and the City of Lights. Sep 13, 2016 at 11:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.