Data taken from more than 70,000 drinkers found that drinking most days of the week was associated with a significantly reduced risk – 27% in men and 32% in women – compared with abstaining.
Wine was the drink found to be most effective at reducing the risk, with scientists arguing that this was because of its chemical compounds, which help to improve blood sugar balance.
Drinkers should, however, avoid gin and spirits, which were associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes by 83% in women.
Seven or more glasses of wine
The study was published in the journal Diabetologia, and looked at data from 70,551 men and women taking part in a large Danish health survey, who were quizzed about their drinking habits and monitored for five years.
It found that for both men and women, seven or more glasses of wine per week reduced the risk of diabetes by 25% and 30% respectively, compared with having less than one drink of wine.
Drinker between one and six beers per week reduced diabetes risk by 21% in men but had no effect on women.
Responding to the study, the Alcohol Information Partnership was quick to stress the importance of drinking in moderation.
Director general Dave Roberts said: “This report demonstrates the complex relationship between alcohol consumption and health. The data from multiple studies suggests that moderate consumption of alcohol may be associated with certain health benefits for some adults, including a protective effect against cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
“However, we do not recommend that anyone drink alcohol for its potential health benefits – for adults who do choose to drink, it is important to drink in moderation.
“Recent UK government data suggests the vast majority of people who choose to drink alcohol heed that advice and do so in moderation and within the Chief Medical Officer's low-risk guidelines.”
A spokesman for the British Beer and Pub Association added: "These reports are consistent with a previous studies that show moderate beer consumption can lower the risk of diabetes.
"Overall, for adults without underlying health conditions, moderate beer consumption can form part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
"Beer contains the essential mineral, silicon, making women drinkers less likely to suffer from osteoporosis. It is also low in salt, and contains, vitamins, potassium and fibre."