LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Liquor producer Brown-Forman Corp. said Wednesday that its second-quarter net income rose 19%, fueled by strong demand for its flagship Jack Daniel's brand and its other premium whiskeys that more than offset a shakier performance for some of its other spirits.

The company reported net sales gains in the U.S. and overseas in the first six months of the year.

"We continue to generate an excellent balance of geographic growth, including strong growth in emerging markets," said Brown-Forman CEO Paul Varga.

The full Jack Daniel's lineup posted an 8% increase in net sales over the first six months of the year, excluding currency swings, the company said.

That led a round of strong sales for the Louisville-based company's whiskey brands. The company reported especially strong 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.

The company reported double-digit net sales growth in the quarter for its pricier super-premium whiskey brands such as Jack Daniel's Single Barrel, Gentleman Jack and Woodford Reserve bourbon. Its Old Forester brand also had strong quarterly sales growth.

Meanwhile, net sales for the six-month period dropped for some of the company's other key brands.

Net sales for the el Jimador tequila lineup dropped 8% when excluding currency swings. Net sales for Finlandia vodka products fell 2%, and sales for the Southern Comfort brand were down 5% on the same constant-currency basis.

Sales for Korbel Champagne rose 3%, while Canadian Mist sales slipped by 1%.

Overall, the company reported net income of $206 million, or $0.96 per share, in the quarter that ended Oct. 31. That's up from $173 million, or $0.80 per share, the year before. Quarterly net sales rose 6% to $1.08 billion.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected earnings of $0.91 per share on net sales of $1.11 billion.

The net income growth reflected sales gains across the spectrum of markets.

In the U.S., net sales in the six-month period grew by 5%, excluding distributor inventory changes, the company said. In developed markets overseas, those sales grew by 7%, excluding foreign currency swings and inventory changes. The upswing was led by double-digit growth in the United Kingdom, France and Japan.

Sales gains also occurred in emerging markets, with especially strong performances in China, Brazil, Russia, Thailand, Turkey and India, the company said.


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