Animal models offer several advantages for the study of complex human disorders such as alcoholism. No animal model replicates all aspects of alcoholism but different components of the disorder can be investigated using various rodent models. In this article, we review a select subset of the most widely used mouse genetic models in alcohol research. Different genetically defined strains and stocks of mice are useful for genetic, physiologic, behavioral and pharmacological studies of this devastating disorder. In the past decade, numerous genomic regions associated with a tendency for various behavioral components of alcoholism have been identified; recent applications of new methods are shedding light on quantitative trait genes. Many of the underlying genes should be identified in the near future.