NEW YORK, NY – In testimony today before a New York State Assembly Committee, Distilled Spirits Council President Peter H. Cressy discussed the distilled spirits industry’s longstanding record of responsible marketing practices, its proven track record of self regulation, and its commitment to fighting underage drinking. “The nation’s distillers are committed to responsible advertising and have a long history of successful self-regulation,” said Cressy—a former college president—pointing to the industry’s 68 year-old Code of Good Practice that governs its advertising activities. “For decades distillers have taken their commitment to social responsibility very seriously. Our companies spend millions of dollars each year on real programs to combat all forms of alcohol abuse, including underage drinking and drunk driving,” said Cressy. He cited the wide range of programs run by the industry’s responsibility foundation, The Century Council. The Federal Trade Commission has examined distillers’ responsible marketing and advertising practices most recently in a1999 report on beverage alcohol advertising. The Commission concluded that industry self-regulation is working and is more effective than government regulation in ensuring that beverage alcohol advertising does not appeal to underage individuals. Alcohol Advertising Does Not Cause Consumption, Major Studies Say Cressy stated that a substantial body of scientific literature concludes that advertising has not been shown to cause someone to begin drinking, let alone abuse beverage alcohol. “The research is clear—parents and peers are the most influential factors in a youth’s decision whether or not to drink alcohol,” said Cressy. “Underage drinking is a serious, complex societal problem. It demands a systematic and comprehensive solution. It cannot be solved by glib testimony and sensational headlines.” Cressy concluded by stating that the industry remains committed to responsible advertising regardless of the medium. He urged the public to judge alcohol ads based on whether they are responsible, not based on the form of alcohol being advertised. “The public needs to remember that alcohol is alcohol,” Cressy concluded. “Advertising for beer, wine and distilled spirits should be held to the same responsible standards.”