A method for establishing stimulus control of ethanol responding was developed. After acquisition of lever pressing for oral ethanol, rats of the high-drinking AA (Alko, Alcohol) line and of the moderate-drinking Wistar strain were subjected to alternating 20-min alcohol access periods signaled by a stimulus light, and 40-min nonaccess periods with no light. Ethanol responding during access periods progressively increased and decreased during nonaccess. These changes were faster in the AAs than the Wistars, probably related to differential reinforcement from ethanol. In a second experiment, rats responding under stimulus control were given periods of alcohol deprivation of 3, 6, 12, and 24 h, indicated by a stimulus light. Deprivations shorter than 24 h increased the first-hour intake after renewed access by the AAs, but the Wistars showed no increase until after a 24-h deprivation. The results show stimulus control of ethanol responding and demonstrate the applicability of the procedure for causing ethanol responding to occur at a time chosen by the experimenter.