The group's executive pointed to the ongoing success of the Industry Responsibility Programs focusing on health issues. Cressy pointed out: "Campaigns such as 'we don't serve teens' are meeting with significant acceptance." He acknowledged that binge drinking on campus continues to be a problem but inroads are being made in that area.
Cressy also noted that DISCUS gives strong support to state and local drinking and driving programs and works closely with various health groups.
In regard to advertising protocol, Cressy noted that increasing numbers of cable networks are now accepting spirit advertisements, along with hundreds of broadcast network affiliates following the same path, most notably the NBC flagship outlet. He emphasised, however, that the internet has become an increasing venue for spirits promotion, somewhat affecting gains in television advertising.
A rigorous advertising and marketing code has been strengthened.
== On-trade feels premium impact ==
Cressy added that "consumer fascination with the thriving cocktail culture and the overall trend toward premium product purchases persisted in 2007".
Will premium sales slow? "Not so far," Cressy noted, although he did concede that people were tightening their belts and drinking more at home with the growth rate of off-premise at 2.5 per cent. The spirits industry is already beginning to feel some impact from consumers spending less in bars and restaurants.
On-premise volume growth, which has in the past been a big driver for the industry, was almost unchanged in 2007.
"Obviously the reality of a softening economy will create new challenges in 2008," said Cressy. "With the 75th anniversary of Prohibition repeal coming, it is important that we continue to eliminate or roll back archaic and restrictive blue laws and regulations [laws dating back to the 17th century restricting, amongst other things, the sale and consumption of alcohol on Sundays]."
== Sunday trading ==
Ozgo said the "trend towards repealing blue laws and the restrictions placed on liquor sales on Sundays and some holidays is dramatically accelerating".
Supporters say repeal of the restrictions expands consumer choice and increases tax revenue.
Just in the past five years, 12 states have begun allowing either full or limited Sunday sales of distilled spirits through off-premise outlets such as package stores, bringing the total to 34. Sunday sales states include Delaware, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
Ozgo pointed out that the rising Sunday sales revenues, $120 million in all, show the importance of creating a level public policy playing field. "Having access to your customers on the second busiest shopping day of the week is enormously important. The customer enjoys the convenience, the industry gets new sales and the state benefits from new tax revenue. It's a win, win, win outcome." ----=== DISCUS membership ===The Distilled Spirits Council represents America's leading distillers and nearly 80 per cent of all distilled spirits brands sold in this country. Over the years, the Council has served as the distillers' voice on policy and legislative issues in the nation's capital, state capitals and foreign capitals. Members include Bacardi USA, Barton Inc, Brown-Forman Corporation, Diageo, Future Brands, Luxco, Moët Hennessy USA, Pernod Ricard USA, Rémy Cointreau USA, Sidney Frank Importing Co. and Suntory International Corp.