Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to determine the extent to which youth have ready access to alcohol and the extent to which immediate family influence affects consumption. Design/methodology/approach: This qualitative descriptive exploratory study undertook semi-structured peer-group interviews with 20 participants from four New Zealand high schools. The interviews centred on exploring the “general” experiences of youth related to alcohol access – but with a focus on alcohol access “at home” and the parental role. Findings: The study confirmed that the home unit was the main source of alcohol for most youth and parents were the most common source of provision. Parents provided financial access to alcohol by giving their child money to purchase it themselves through older family members or friends. It was also found that youth used negotiation strategies with their parents to influence their consumer purchases of alcohol. Research limitations/implications: Youth frequently used strategies such as pressure tactics, exchange tactics, ingratiating tactics and consultation tactics to influence their family’s decision-making process and to pressure their parents into supplying them with alcohol. Practical implications: It is important to recognise the role that family play as “gatekeepers” for readily allowing access and supplying youth with alcohol – and the reasons for doing so. Social implications: Alcohol plays an important part in many societies. It is important to understand how young people consume and access alcohol – particularly when the family plays a major role in access and consumption. Originality/value: Many studies have been conducted in relation to youth and alcohol consumption. Very few, as far as we can tell, explore the role of the family from the young consumers’ perspective and especially from a qualitative narrative perspective.