Introduction The prevalence of at-risk drinking is far higher among those in contact with the criminal justice system (73%) than the general population (35%). However, there is little evidence on the effectiveness of alcohol brief interventions (ABIs) in reducing risky drinking among those in the criminal justice system, including the prison system and, in particular, those on remand. Building on earlier work, A two-arm parallel group individually randomised Prison Pilot study of a male Remand Alcohol Intervention for Self-efficacy Enhancement (APPRAISE) is a pilot study designed to assess the feasibility and acceptability of an ABI, delivered to male prisoners on remand. The findings of APPRAISE should provide the information required to design a future definitive randomised controlled trial (RCT). Methods and analysis APPRAISE will use mixed methods, with two linked phases, across two prisons in the UK, recruiting 180 adult men on remand: 90 from Scotland and 90 from England. Phase I will involve a two-arm, parallel-group, individually randomised pilot study. The pilot evaluation will provide data on the likely impact of A two-arm parallel group individually randomised Prison Pilot study of a male Remand Alcohol Intervention for Self-efficacy Enhancement (APPRAISE), which will be used to inform a future definitive multicentre RCT. Phase II will be a process evaluation assessing how the ABI has been implemented to explore the change mechanisms underpinning the ABI (figure 1) and to assess the context within which the ABI is delivered. Ethics and dissemination The APPRAISE protocol has been approved by the East of Scotland Research Ethics Committee (19/ES/0068), National Offender Management System (2019-240), Health Board Research and Development (2019/0268), Scottish Prison Service research and ethics committee, and by the University of Edinburgh's internal ethics department. The findings will be disseminated via peer-reviewed journal publications, presentations at local, national and international conferences, infographics and shared with relevant stakeholders through meetings and events. Trial registration number ISRCTN27417180.