LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Strong demand for its Jack Daniel's brand and other premium whiskeys helped liquor producer Brown-Forman Corp's net income rise 19 percent.
The strength in whiskey more than offset a shakier performance by some of the company's other spirits.
The company on Wednesday reported net sales gains in the U.S. and overseas in the first six months of the year. It reaffirmed its full-year earnings outlook between $2.80 and $3 per share.
"I'm very pleased with how the company has continued to perform and be positioned, particularly in light of what appears to be a more moderate posture from most of our publicly traded global competitors," Brown-Forman CEO Paul Varga said during a conference call with industry analysts.
Leading the way was the full Jack Daniel's lineup, which saw an 8 percent increase in net sales over the first six months of the year when excluding currency swings, the company said. That led a round of strong sales for the Louisville-based company's whiskey brands.
The company reported surging sales for Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey, driven by the product's introduction in several overseas markets and its continued growth in the U.S. More double-digit growth is expected in coming months for the honey-infused whiskey but at a less robust rate, the company said.
Brown-Forman reported double-digit net sales growth in the quarter for its pricier whiskey brands such as Jack Daniel's Single Barrel, Gentleman Jack and Woodford Reserve bourbon.
Its venerable Old Forester bourbon also had strong quarterly sales growth, and the company is "repositioning the brand at a more premium price point," Chief Financial Officer Don Berg said.
The company's executives said one key category remains sluggish — out-on-the-town drinking at bars and restaurants.