The aim of this book is to compare the extent to which alcohol policy development in four European countries – Denmark, England, Ireland and Scotland – has responded to the emergence of public health perspectives on alcohol control, especially as developed and supported through the World Health Organization (WHO). While it will be described in more detail below, the ‘public health’ position on alcohol broadly argues that national governments have a duty to tackle alcohol-related harm by introducing regulatory control measures aimed not only at tackling ‘problem drinkers’ but at reducing consumption across whole populations. In describing the political journey of this principle in recent years, we critically appraise how it has operated in the European context within the constraints of EU ‘realpolitik’, and in national settings where local cultural, political and economic circumstances create both opportunities for, and barriers to, novel policy development. We also consider how this approach sits within the wider history of alcohol policy advocacy, which stretches back beyond the emergence of the modern public health approach in the late 1960s to the nineteenth-century temperance movements.