In order to establish whether alcohol in amounts in amounts customarily imbibed during social drinking causes gastro-oesophageal reflux, 12 healthy young individuals, without symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux, were studied twice. Each time, distal oesophageal pH was monitored continuously for three hours after a standard meal which included either 180 ml 100 proof vodka or 180 ml water. The order of studies with and without alcohol was random. Peak blood alcohol concentrations ranged between 0.63 and 1.29 g/l. Eleven of the 12 subjects refluxed more after alcohol; and the difference in mean reflux scores for studies with and without alcohol was highly significant. We conclude that relatively modest quanttities of alcohol induce gastro-oesophageal reflux in healthy people.