NEW YORK— After careful review of the latest company reports, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) reported today that overall supplier level U.S. spirits sales for 2004 grew 3.1% in volume and 5.8% in dollars. That translated into 164.2 million 9-liter cases and $14.7 billion in revenue. The distiller’s organization stated that the growth was solid across the various spirits categories and price points, and was driven by expanding market access opportunities and the continuing adult interest in premium beverages and cocktails. Further, the Council said it anticipated a gain to 29.7% of the beverage alcohol market by volume, up from 29.3% in 2003 and projected a record $655 million of exports of U.S. spirits products citing the weak dollar but also increasing efficiencies related to global consolidation and open markets in the developed world. DISCUS CEO Peter H. Cressy, reporting the results to reporters and analysts, stated that increasing market access opportunities for spirits products, with eleven more states permitting Sunday sales (for a total of 32) in the past several years, had contributed significantly to spirits growth in the beverage alcohol market. He also pointed to the industry’s success in defending the hospitality industry from tax increases as well as more equal opportunities in the marketplace. DISCUS chief economist David Ozgo, who developed the data, stated that the industry had posted the second straight year of 3% plus gains for the first time in many years. He noted the steady growth across the price points but said the high end and super premium products were the fastest growing segments. He also pointed out that Brown Spirits (whiskies) are growing again with Irish up 11.7%, Single Malt Scotch up 5.4%, Bourbon up 3.5% and Canadian up 1.7%. Among all Brown Spirits, High End Premium products were up 5.9% and Super Premium were up 7.1%. Vodka continued to lead all categories with 25% of the spirits market with volume up 4% to 43.5 million cases and revenue up 7.5% to $3.2 billion. Other categories showing steady growth include Rum and Tequila, Ozgo said. Looking forward, Ozgo projected continued steady growth for 2005 based on strength of the economy, favorable adult demographics, and the variety of brands for every taste, budget and occasion.