Cohort studies have reported inconsistent evidence regarding alcohol intake and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), mostly based on alcohol intake assessed close to study enrolment. We examined this association using alcohol intake measured from age 20 onwards. We calculated usual alcohol intake for 10-year periods from age 20 using recalled frequency and quantity of beverage-specific consumption for 37,990 participants aged 40-69 years from the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study. Cox regression was performed to derive hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association between alcohol intake (g/day) and NHL risk. After a mean follow-up of 19.3 years, 538 NHL cases were diagnosed. Approximately 80% of participants were either lifetime abstainers or consumed below 20 g of ethanol/day. All categories of lifetime alcohol intake were associated with about 20% lower incidence of NHL compared with lifetime abstention, but there was no evidence of a trend by amount consumed (HR = 0.97 per 10 g/day increment in intake, 95% CI: 0.92-1.03; p value = 0.3). HRs for beer, wine and spirits were 0.91 (95% CI: 0.83-1.00; p value = 0.05), 1.03 (95% CI: 0.94-1.12; p value = 0.6), and 1.06 (95% CI: 0.83-1.37; p value = 0.6), respectively, per 10 g/day increment in lifetime intake. There were no significant differences in associations between NHL subtypes. In this low-drinking cohort, we did not detect a dose-dependent association between lifetime alcohol intake and NHL risk.