WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a major report released today on self-regulation in the beverage alcohol industry, the Federal Trade Commission found “high levels of compliance” with the industry’s voluntary 70 percent 21 years of age and older demographic standard and concluded the distilled spirits industry’s advertising is directed to adults.

Specifically, the FTC found that more than 92 percent of all television, radio, and print advertising placements met the 70 percent 21+ demographic standard and more than 97 percent of total advertising impressions met the 70 percent standard.

“The FTC has stated clearly that the spirits industry has done an excellent job in ensuring that its advertising and marketing is directed to adults,” said Distilled Spirits Council President Peter H. Cressy.  “Since 2003, we have instituted transparent public reports, rigorous audits and a new buying guideline for internet/digital media which have significantly contributed to the high standard cited in today’s announcement.”

The FTC did not recommend a change in the 70 percent 21+ demographic standard noting that it is grounded in the 2000 census data and that the “current 70 percent baseline standard has helped to ensure that alcohol advertising is not disproportionately directed to those below the legal drinking age, as recommended by the Surgeon General’s Call to Action.”

Cressy noted, “Not surprisingly, assertions about beverage alcohol advertising by industry critic, the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY), once again comes in for criticism for its questionable methodologies and conclusions – something the industry has long pointed out to the news media and public officials.”

Importantly, the FTC said that teen drinking “has declined substantially over time,” and “restriction on teen access to alcohol are a proven way to reduce teen drinking.”  The FTC noted most teens who drink gain access to alcohol primarily through non-commercial sources such as older friends, parties where adults are present, or by taking it from their own homes, which was reinforced by a major study issued today by the U.S. Substance and Mental Health Services Administration.