WASHINGTON – The distilled spirits industry’s Code of Responsible Practices, which now includes semi-annual public reports on alcohol advertising complaints, was honored as the best “Business Ethics Communications” during the PR News Corporate Social Responsibility Awards ceremony this morning at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

“This award is recognition of the distilled spirits industry’s longstanding commitment to social responsibility,” said Distilled Spirits Council President Peter H. Cressy.  “Our advertising and marketing Code with its transparent public reports has been recognized as a model for other industries by regulators, industry critics, and now by independent evaluators.”

Sponsored by PR News magazine, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Awards honor corporations and their partners that have implemented and executed highly successful CSR campaigns in the past 12 months.  PR News calls the CSR Awards “the gold standard in corporate citizenship and communications worldwide.”

The Council was named the winner for the Business Ethics Communications category, which is awarded to corporations and organizations that “clearly demonstrated unquestionable business ethics to all stakeholders, in some cases mitigating the crises of confidence that employees, customers and other stakeholders may have had in the wake of recent corporate scandals.”

The Council won the award for its Semi-Annual Code Report, a new component of the industry’s 70-year-old Code of Responsible Practices for advertising and marketing.   The Council’s Code was also a finalist for an American Business Award this year.

To make the industry’s advertising Code complaint review process more transparent and understandable to the public, in 2005 the Council began publishing semi-annual public reports.  They detailed complaints against specific spirits advertisements, decisions of the industry’s review board, and actions taken by each advertiser in response to the decision.  The reports can be viewed on the DISCUS website at /industry/code/sacr.htm

Regulators and industry watchdogs have applauded the distilled spirits industry’s approach to self-regulation, calling it a model for other industries, including food product manufacturers and the pharmaceutical industry.

Other PR News CSR Award winners included Gap Inc., Daimler Chrysler, Sprint, Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, Hyperion Solutions and Deloitte & Touche USA.