The company also said it was seeing improvement in the United States, where an economic downturn had dampened consumers' drinking habits. Brown-Forman plans to take advantage of that returning thirst with new flavored whiskey products such as Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey and Jack Daniel's ready-to-drink beverages.
In the just-ended fiscal third quarter, net income was $140.7 million, or 96 cents a share, up from $107.9 million, or 73 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had expected 86 cents.
Overall net sales rose 12 percent to $962.4 million, above the $877 million analysts had expected. The company saw strong gains in developed markets such as Britain, Germany, France and Australia, as well as emerging markets such as Mexico, Turkey the Middle East and North Africa.
The gross profit margin rose to 48.2 percent from 47.7 percent last year.
For the fourth quarter, Brown-Forman expects more growth in sales and gross profits due to the addition of new products.
However, it said the growth rates would match growth trends year to date rather than the third quarter, which benefited from retailers taking on more inventory ahead of price increases. It also expects selling, general and administrative expenses to moderate significantly as compared with the first nine months.
Brown-Forman raised its full-year profit outlook to a range of $3.35 to $3.45 a share, excluding one-time items. The forecast reflects a 4 cent-per-share benefit from foreign exchange rates, increased sales overseas, and strength in its Jack Daniel's's whiskey and el Jimador tequila.
In December, it raised its forecast to $3.18 to $3.42 a share. Analysts were expecting $3.31.
The company repeated its forecast of operating income growth in the mid-single digits in fiscal 2011.
Earlier this month Brown-Forman said it agreed to sell its Fetzer winery to Chile's Concha y Toro
Brown-Forman shares were up $5.15, or 7.6 percent, at $72.61 on the New York Stock Exchange after rising as high as $73.61.
(Additional reporting by Martinne Geller in New York, Editing by Derek Caney, Maureen Bavdek, Dave Zimmerman)