Brown-Forman has improved its full-year guidance after posting a "strong" set of third-quarter figures.

The US wine and spirits group said today (1 March) it now expected earnings per share of US$2.79-2.85, up from a previous forecast of US$2.73-2.79 a share.

Brown-Forman saw operating income for the three months to 31 January leap 41% to US$165.7m on the back of a 5% rise in net sales to US$636.8m.

The company said the earnings increase was fuelled by "continued strong growth" from its stable of premium brands, "most notably" Jack Daniel's whiskey.

Brown-Forman's Fetzer wine brand enjoyed profit growth in the US, while vodka brand Finlandia enjoyed rising sales in Central Europe.

"Global depletions for the company's total portfolio of brands were up in the mid-single digits in the quarter with balanced growth across all geographies, led by strength in many international markets," the company said.

Paul Varga, the company's chief executive officer added: "We are pleased with yet another quarter of strong organic growth. This performance is due to consistent long-term investments, our diligent resource allocation process, an environment conducive to our brand building, and the focused effort of our employees worldwide. We continue to see growth opportunities ahead."