The present study examined metacognitions in problem drinkers and a community sample. A sample of 60 problem drinkers and 84 individuals from the general population were compared on the following measures: Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Meta-Cognitions Questionnaire 30, Quantity Frequency Scale and Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test. Mann–Whitney U-tests, logistic regression analysis and hierarchical regression analyses were performed on the data. Mann–Whitney U-tests revealed that metacognitions, anxiety, depression and drinking scores were significantly higher for problem drinkers than for the general population. The logistic regression analysis indicated that beliefs about cognitive confidence and beliefs about the need to control thoughts were independent predictors of a classification as a problem drinker over and above negative emotions. Finally, hierarchical regression analyses on the combined samples showed that beliefs about cognitive confidence, and beliefs about the need to control thoughts, independently predicted both alcohol use and problem drinking scores. These results add to the argument that metacognitive theory is relevant in understanding excessive and problematic alcohol use.