Translational research projects based in England, New Zealand and Catalonia are described. In combination they provide real world evidence in support of the evolving discourse on translating the evidence on screening and brief intervention for problem use of alcohol so that it is acceptable and fit for routine practice. Acceptance and uptake was enhanced by encouraging primary health clinicians to use evidence-based screening and brief intervention processes which fit with the context in which they work and which build on the skills they already have and use in practice. Emerging general principles included: tailoring procedures to fit with local circumstances; breaking the process down into clinically acceptable steps and negotiating where there is flexibility. Key issues explored in each case study included how ‘screening’ is best conducted, what is a brief intervention best suited to which provider and which providers should run the process.