This study examined the association between moderate drinking at age 16 (adolescence) and alcohol consumption at age 26 (young adulthood), whilst controlling for possible confounding effects at the individual and family level (assessed at birth and age 10). Using the British Cohort Study (BCS70), 6515 respondents provided data on their adolescent alcohol consumption and other behaviours. Of these, 4392 also completed the survey at age 26. Consumption patterns established in adolescence persisted, to a large degree, into early adulthood. Those adolescents who drank moderately in adolescence drank significantly less in adulthood than those adolescents who drank to heavy or hazardous levels. Implications for health promotion strategies and guidance are discussed.