Older people consume less alcohol than any other adult age group. However, in recent years survey data on alcohol consumption in the United Kingdom have shown that while younger age groups have experienced a decline in alcohol consumption, drinking behaviours among the elderly have not reduced in the same way. This paper uses data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing to analyse both the frequency and quantity of older adult's alcohol consumption using a lifecourse approach over a ten-year period. Overall drinking declined over time and the analysis examined how socio-economic characteristics, partnership, employment and health statuses were associated with differences in drinking behaviours and how these changed over time. Higher wealth and level of education were associated with drinking more and drinking more frequently for men and women. Poorer self-rated health was associated with less frequent consumption and older people with poor and deteriorating health reported a steeper decline in the frequency of alcohol consumption over time. Men who were not in a partnership drank more than other men. For women, loss of a partner was associated with a steeper decline in drinking behaviours. These findings have implications for programmes to promote responsible drinking among older adults as they suggest that, for the most part, characteristics associated with sustaining wellbeing in later life are also linked to consuming more alcohol.