PURPOSE: To investigate the association between the type of preferred alcoholic beverage and drinking pattern and health characteristics. METHODS: A Cross-sectional study was conducted from 22 April to 3 May in 2002. 301 females and 699 males aged 13 to 59 were personally interviewed. Data on sociodemographic characteristics, drinking pattern and health characteristics were collected. 735 drinkers who were 19 year-old or over were included in analysis. Beverage preference was classified 3 categories: Beer drinker, wine drinker (including wine, makguly, chungju and yakju) and soju drinker (including soju and spirits). RESULTS: Beer drinkers were likely to be females. Compared to wine or soju drinkers, beer drinkers were less frequently drank, and consumed less total alcohol per week and less alcohol per 1 drinking among both male and female. Controlling for various confounders, beer drinker had significantly less total alcohol consumption per week, and alcohol consumption per 1 drinking than wine and soju drinker. CONCLUSION: Beer drinking were associated with less smoking in males and healthy drinking pattern in both gender than soju drinking.