New York – Distilled spirits industry reported steady growth in 2005 with spirits volume up 2.9 percent and revenue up 7.5 percent, totaling $16.3 billion, as consumers continued to favor premium products according to the latest economic data released today by the Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS). The group also noted that spirits and wine both gained almost one percent of market share in ‘05. “American consumers drank better, not more in 2005, as they continued to favor premium spirits products,” said Distilled Spirits Council President Peter H. Cressy at an annual New York industry review for business press and financial analysts. “The industry continues to see strong growth among premium and super premium products across all spirits categories.” DISCUS’ chief economist David Ozgo presented a 2005 economic review which showed: Revenue growth totaled $1.2 billion reaching a record $16.3 billion; Super premium product sales grew over 20% and high-end premium was up 11%; Vodka, representing 27% of sales, saw 7.1% revenue growth to $3.6 billion. It was led by 23% revenue growth in the super premium category; Whiskey, flat for years, saw 8.4% revenue growth to $4.9 billion, led by the premium and super premium brands; Ozgo, looking at past marketplace performance, projects another steady year of growth in 2006, predicts revenue growth of 7% to $17.4 billion and volume growth of 3.3% to 176 million cases, again paced by the premium categories. The briefing also provided an opportunity to underscore the industry’s commitment to social responsibility and to review its self-regulation initiatives in 2005. Cressy pointed to the industry’s public semi-annual Code Reports, first released this past year, which provided transparency about complaints against industry advertising and marketing. The public reports were well-received by both regulators and advocacy groups, and have been called a model for other industries. Both the reports and the industry’s Code of Responsible Practices are available at www.distilledspirits.org. In addition, the briefing showcased some of the industry’s new responsibility programs developed by The Century Council: For the past 16 years, the distilled spirits industry has funded The Century Council, an independent not-for-profit organization dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking and to promoting responsible decision-making regarding beverage alcohol. Operating on the philosophy that collective action can have a greater impact than individual efforts, The Council involves all sectors of the community including beverage alcohol wholesalers and retailers, law enforcement, public officials, educators, insurers, health care professionals, and private citizen organizations in the fight against drunk driving and underage drinking. To fulfill its mission, in 2005 alone, the Council has worked with numerous strategic partners, developed award winning programs, and distributed millions of pieces of collateral materials to educators, parents, law enforcement, legislators, judges, and traffic safety organizations across the country. In addition, the council promoted these initiatives aggressively by hosting over 200 events nationwide. Most recently, The Century Council has partnered with Nickelodeon to develop Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix, and the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association and the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association to distribute Girl Talk: Choices and Consequences of Underage Drinking.