Corby Distilleries has posted a healthy rise in Q1 profit. The company said yesterday (13 January) that, in the first quarter to 30 November, profits hit C$14m (US$11.6m) or C$1.98 per share, a 27% rise on the corresponding quarter last year.

The three-month period was boosted by a C$1.7m increase in earnings from Corby's equity investment in the Tia Maria Group, as the brand increased sales by 4% and cut advertising expenses.

Net operating revenue was up by 13% to C$36.8m. Consumption of Corby's Wiser's whisky, Polar Ice vodka and Lamb's rum brands was up by 4% year-on-year.

As well as its own brands, Corby is the Canadian agent for Allied Domecq's Canadian Club rye, Ballantine's scotch, Beefeater gin, Malibu rum, Sauza tequila, Courvoisier cognac, Kahlua and Tia Maria.

Cost of sales for the quarter swelled to C$14.6m from C$11.5m, driven by costs associated with the increase in contract bottling and sales of Corby's own brands.

Marketing, sales and administration expenses declined to C$8.6m from C$9.1m on reduced advertising and promotional costs.