Buoyant Jack Daniel's sales have driven a strong full-year financial performance at US wine and spirits group Brown-Forman.

The company said today (1 June) that operating income surged 17% to US$102.6m in the year to 30 April. The rise came on the back of a 16% leap in net sales to US$594.3m.

Brown-Forman said that the company's flagship global brands, including Jack Daniel's, Southern Comfort and Finlandia vodka, had delivered "outstanding results". Jack Daniel's sales rose 8% to 8.5m nine-litre cases, with the company noting volume gains in China, South Africa, France and Germany.

Southern Comfort's volumes were up 5% for the second consecutive fiscal year, fuelled by growth in the US, South Africa, and Germany. Finlandia, meanwhile, saw sales leap 15%, thanks to "healthy, double-digit growth" in markets including vodka heartlands, Poland and Russia.

While the company's super-premium stable - including Sonoma-Cutrer, Bonterra wines and Woodford Reserve - saw volumes rise by a fifth, Brown-Forman said overall depletions for its mid-priced regional brands declined slightly, as solid growth for Fetzer and Korbel was offset by declines for Canadian Mist, Bolla and Early Times.

Brown-Forman CEO Paul Varga said: "Fiscal 2006 was certainly one of the strongest in our company's 136 year history. The strength and health of our brands, the focused brand-building efforts of our people and partners, and the favorable environment for premium wines and spirits all combined to produce these exceptional results."