Problematic alcohol consumption is a major public health, health education and health promotion issue in Australia and internationally. In an effort to better understand young people’s drinking patterns and motivations we investigated the cultural drivers of drinking in 14–24 year-old Australians. We interviewed 60 young people in the state of Victoria aged 20–24 about their drinking biographies. At the time of interviewing, the draft guidelines on low-risk drinking were released by the National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia, and we asked our participants what they knew about them and if they thought they would affect their drinking patterns. Their responses indicate that pleasure and sociability are central to young people’s drinking cultures which is supported by a range of research. However, O’Malley and Valverde claim that pleasure is silenced and/or deployed strategically in neo-liberal governance discourses about drugs and alcohol such as these guidelines which raises questions about the limits of such discourses to affect changes in drinking patterns.