Given the changes of gender roles in this century it is hardly justified to assume constant proportions of alcohol consumption for males and females. The purpose of the study was to reconstruct the consumption trends of males and females in Switzerland since the beginning of the 20th century. Cirrhosis mortality and survey data were used to disaggregate by sex the per capita alcohol consumption derived from sales data. The disaggregation of the per capita alcohol consumption based on liver cirrhosis mortality suggests that the evolution of alcohol consumption in Switzerland followed a parallel course for both sexes only until the 1930s. The low consumption during World War II and the evident increase until the beginning of the '60s seem to have resulted above all from the variations in consumption of beer by men. The decrease in total alcohol consumption observed since the '70s is also most probably due only to men; there is no indication of a decreasing consumption by women. The tendency of male and female consumption patterns to become more similar should be taken into account in the prevention of alcohol misuse.