Corby Distilleries has seen its quarterly profits leap by almost a third. The company yesterday posted a rise in profits of almost 30% for the first fiscal quarter to 30 November 2003, to C$11m (US$8.46m) from C$8.5m year-on-year. Sales for the distiller rose slightly to C32.7m from C$32.6m.

Corby, whose brands include Lamb's rum and Polar Ice vodka in Canada, credits the increase in profits primarily to a rise of C$2.1m in equity earnings from the company's investment in liqueur maker Tia Maria Group. Corby also made savings from the restructuring of its sales and marketing team last year.

In October last year, Corby warned that results for 2004 may be down on 2003, "to the extent that the demand for spirits in the Canadian market declines from fiscal 2003 levels," due to the drop in tourism.