Background: Heavy alcohol drinking has a significant impact on public health in most Western countries. Brief interventions are effective in decreasing alcohol consumption. In a Danish context, the feasibility and effectiveness of screening and subsequent brief intervention has been questioned. Aim: To determine whether a brief motivational intervention resulted in lowering of self-reported alcohol use in a non-treatment seeking population of heavy drinkers. Method: Before participating in a Danish Health Examination Survey study all participants completed a mailed questionnaire. Systematic screening of 12,364 adults led to inclusion of 772 heavy drinkers (defined as weekly alcohol consumption above the Danish safe drinking limits (168 grams of alcohol for women, 252 grams for men), who were randomized into a control (n=381) or an intervention (n=391) group. The intervention consisted of a brief (approx. 10 minute) motivational intervention and two leaflets about alcohol. The control group received two leaflets about alcohol. Follow-up took place after 6/12 months on 670/612 persons. Outcome measure was self-reported reduction in alcohol consumption. Results : At 6 and 12 month follow-up, the difference in weekly alcohol use between the two groups was non-significant (1.4/0.8 standard drink, P=0.17 / P=0.26). Discussion: We found no evidence indicating that a brief motivational intervention could lead to a reduction in self-reported alcohol consumption.