Heterozygous α1-antitrypsin deficiency type PiZ (PiMZ) results in chronic liver injury and predisposes to hepatocellular carcinoma. Gene frequency of the PiZ allele ranges from 0.005 to 0.027 in Western and Central Europe; therefore, there is a substantial risk of coincidence with chronic alcohol abuse. This retrospective case–control study evaluates the impact of PiMZ genotype on the development of chronic liver disease in alcohol consuming patients. Six thousand eight hundred eighty-six consecutive liver specimens were immunohistochemically tested for PiZ-deposits. From 254 PiZ-positive patients, the liver biopsies of 30 PiMZ adults without concomitant liver disease other than alcoholic liver disease (ALD) were selected and matched to PiMM (wild type) patients with respect to age, gender and lifetime daily alcohol ingestion (LDAI). Histomorphological changes were assessed using the SAF score and by digital image analysis. Liver cirrhosis was significantly more frequent in PIMZ patients than in matched PiMM patients (PiMM 9/30 vs. PiMZ 14/30, p = 0.04). Comparison of the extent of fibrosis in PiMZ and PiMM livers by two-way ANOVA indicated that the amount of LDAI has a major effect in PiMZ and PiMM patients (30.04 % of total variation, p < 0.0001), whereas PIMZ genotype has a minor but independent effect on liver fibrosis as assessed by digital planimetric evaluation (9.27 % of total variation, p = 0.005). Semiquantitative assessment was in agreement with this finding. Histomorphological findings support that PiMZ heterozygosity has an independent aggravating effect on liver fibrosis, even though the pathogenic effect of alcohol consumption is much stronger.