Objectives. We assessed the relationship between alcohol consumption in young adulthood (ages 18-30 years) and occupational success 15 years later among Blacks and Whites. Methods. We analyzed data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study on employment status and occupational prestige at year 15 from baseline. The primary predictor was weekly alcohol use at baseline, after stratification by race and adjustment for socioeconomic factors. Results.We detected racial differences in the relationship between alcohol use in early adulthood and employment status at midlife. Blacks who were very heavy drinkers at baseline were more than 4 times as likely as Blacks who were occasional drinkers to be unemployed at year 15 (odds ratio [OR]=4.34; 95% confidence interval [CI]=2.22, 8.47). We found no statistically significant relationship among Whites. Occupational prestige at midlife was negatively related to very heavy drinking, but after adjustment for marital status, active coping, life stress, and educational attainment, this relationship was statistically significant only among Blacks. Conclusions. Heavy drinking during young adulthood was negatively associated with labor market success at midlife, especially among Blacks.