I suppose that it's at least a little ironic that I follow companies like Central EuropeanDistribution and Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) and yet am not really a big drinker. Goes to show, I think, that a good business is a good business whether or not you patronize it.

Results for Constellation Brands in its fiscal first quarter were on target. Sales climbed 18% to $1.1 billion, and reported net income rose 47% to almost $76 million. On a comparables basis, net income rose 19%.

Performance was pretty good in both the wine and beers-and-spirits businesses. Wine sales climbed 23%, and operating income rose 42% as margins improved. While the base business grew at 8%, Mondavi and Ruffino brands both performed well in the quarter.

On the beers-and-spirits side, sales were up 9% and operating income grew about 12%. Imported beers showed a double-digit increase as the company continues to do well with brands like Corona, Modelo, and St. Pauli Girl. In fact, while the overall American beer market still seems to be shrinking modestly, Constellation management is looking for mid-single-digit growth for the year from their beers. For spirits, strong growth in production services offset a small decline in branded spirits.

As discussed recently by Rich Duprey, Constellation Brands has chosen not to move ahead with its attempt to buy Allied Domecq (NYSE:AED). Although Allied Domecq has some strong wine brands that would fit into the business nicely, the price simply exceeded the point at which Constellation Brands would get the sort of return it customarily expects from acquisitions.

That sort of discipline has served shareholders well in the past, and I would expect that to continue. So long as Americans' tastes continue to drift toward wine and away from beer, Constellation Brands should have a good opportunity to continue to expand its business. While good stock performance has taken a lot of the cheapness out of these shares, good growers in good businesses don't just fall out of trees.

For more stellar Foolishness on Constellation:

Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned.