Canadian spirits group Corby Distilleries suffered a plunge in full-year net earnings, but said it remained confident with its focus on premium drinks.

Corby, which owns licences for Pernod Ricard brands in Canada, said earlier this week that revenue rose 6% to C$163.3m (US$154.3m) for the year to the end of June.

Net earnings plunged from C$100m the year before to C$31m, due to the inclusion of a one-time gain of C$72.6m from Corby's sale of the Tia Maria brand to Pernod in the first quarter a year ago. Underlying net earnings for its most recent year increased 10% excluding this investment, it added.

The firm said revenue growth was a tribute to its greater focus on "key brands", including Seagram's and Wiser's Canadian Whisky, and the premium spirits category.

Value sales to retailers rose 4% for the year, compared to 1% volume growth, Corby said. Its flagship brand, Wiser's, reported retail volumes up 4% and value sales up 7%, following "significant investment" in advertising and promotion, the firm added.

Seagram's Coolers brand outperformed its segment, Corby said, growing retail sales by 7%, thanks to new products such as Seagram's Vodka Spritzers.

In what may be a sign of the tougher economic times, however, Corby group revenues dipped slightly to C$40.8m, down from C$41.3m in the fourth quarter. It blamed the slowdown largely on "the late arrival of summer".

Con Constandis, Corby's president and CEO, said he "remained confident" in value sales growth over the coming year.