Alcohol consumption has been investigated as a possible risk factor for ovarian cancer in several epidemiological studies, with inconsistent findings. Recent studies have suggested that the association between alcohol consumption and ovarian cancer may vary according to histologic subtype of ovarian cancer and type of alcohol consumed (e.g., wine, beer, or liquor). We examined these associations in a population-based case-control study comprised of 762 incident cases of epithelial ovarian cancer and 6,271 population controls from Massachusetts and Wisconsin aged 40-79 years. Women reported their usual alcohol consumption as young adults (20-30 years of age) and in the recent past. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated. There was no significant association of ovarian cancer with increasing alcohol consumption either during ages 20-30 years (p trend 0.42) or in the recent past (p trend 0.83). Regular drinking of beer (1 drink/day or more) during ages 20-30 (OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.07-2.26), though not liquor (OR 1.35, 95% CI 0.86-2.11) or wine (OR 0.99, 95% CI 0.49-2.00), was associated with a statistically significant increase in risk of invasive tumors, whereas no significant relationships were observed for recent drinking, regardless of alcohol type. The elevated risk for early adult regular drinking was confined to serous invasive tumors (OR 1.52, 95% CI 1.01-2.30), though results for other subtypes were based on sparse data and results were imprecise. In this study, neither total alcohol consumption as a young adult nor recently was associated with an increase in the risk of ovarian cancer.