Last week, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States announced that it revised its advertising and marketing codes to increase the adult demographic placement standard to 73.8%.  Essentially, what this means is that, according to the DISCUS Code of Responsible Practices for Beverage Alcohol Advertising and Marketing, distilled spirits marketers should only place advertising in media "where at least 73.8 percent of the audience is reasonably expected to be 21 or older."  The DISCUS Responsible Media "Buying" Guidelines provide detailed guidance about how to comply with this standard. 

Until the change to its codes in May, the DISCUS adult demographic placement standard had been 71.6%.  DSICUS said it made the change in response to the release of 202 U.S. Census data, which shows that 73.8 percent of the U.S. population is at least 21 years old.  DISCUS President and CEO Crhis Swonger explained, “The census is the most comprehensive survey of the current demographics of the U.S. population and provides a sound, fact-based measure for spirits companies to make advertising placement decisions.  In keeping with our longstanding commitment to responsible advertising, this new demographic percentage will apply prospectively to all new purchases of advertising and marketing for distilled spirits products.”

DISCUS changed the standard along with the American Crafts Spirits Association (which has a Code of Responsible Practices for Craft Spirits Advertising and Marketing) and the American Distilled Spirits Alliance (which has a Statement of Responsible Practices).  

The move by the distilled spirits organizations follows earlier movies by the beer and wine industry.  In July 2022, the Beer Institute updated its Advertising & Marketing Code to adopt a 73.6% standard.  And, previously, the Wine Institute adopted a 73.7% standard in its Code of Advertising Standards (though apparently still has a 71.6% standard for its Digital Marketing Guidelines).