We have previously found that variation in alcohol metabolism in Europeans is linked to the chromosome 4q region containing the ADH gene family. We have now typed 103 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across this region to test for allelic associations with variation in blood and breath alcohol concentrations after an alcohol challenge. In vivo alcohol metabolism was modelled with three parameters that identified the absorption and rise of alcohol concentration following ingestion, and the rate of elimination. Alleles of ADH7 SNPs were associated with the early stages of alcohol metabolism, with additional effects in the ADH1A, ADH1B and ADH4 regions. Rate of elimination was associated with SNPs in the intragenic region between ADH7 and ADH1C, and across ADH1C and ADH1B. SNPs affecting alcohol metabolism did not correspond to those reported to affect alcohol dependence or alcohol-related disease. The combined SNP associations with early- and late-stage metabolism only account for approximately 20% of the total genetic variance linked to the ADH region, and most of the variance for in vivo alcohol metabolism linked to this region is yet to be explained.