Objectives: This study examined the effects of beer, spirits, and wine drinking on coronary heart disease (CHD) events (fatal and nonfatal) and all-cause mortality.
Methods: Men aged 40 to 59 years (n = 7735) were drawn at random from one general practice in each of 24 British towns and followed up for an average of 16.8 years.
Results: Regular drinkers showed a significantly lower relative risk of CHD, but no all-cause mortality, than occasional drinkers, even after adjustment for potential confounders. The benefit for CHD of regular drinking was seen within both beer drinkers and spirit drinkers but not among men who reported wine drinking. However, all men who reported wine drinking (both occasional and regular) showed significantly lower age-adjusted risks of CHD and all-cause mortality than men drinking beer or spirits; beer and spirit drinkers showed similar risks.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that regular intake of all alcoholic drinks is associated with a lower risk of CHD, but not all-cause mortality, than occasional drinking. A large part, but not all, of the greater benefit seen in wine drinkers relative to other drinkers can be attributed to advantageous lifestyle characteristics (e.g., low rates of smoking and obesity).