Tax rises are a bigger threat than recession to the spirits makers in the US, the country's Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS) has said in its annual review.

Revenue growth for the entire US spirits sector slowed to 2.8% in 2008, reaching US$18.7bn, DISCUS said on Friday (30 January). Volume growth was 1.6% for the 12 months.

Peter Cressy, the association's president, told a conference on Friday that the spirits industry may not be "recesssion proof", but was "recession resistant".

"Our message is simple: we are not seeking a bailout; just do no harm," he said.

A bigger threat, according to DISCUS, is the prospect of further tax rises, which are currently being considered by several US states.

Higher hospitality taxes this year could lead to 150,000 job losses in an on-trade sector already being hit hard by a drop in consumer spending power, DISCUS warned.