Whiskey galore: Distiller Diageo posts 28 per cent profit rise amid higher spirits consumption

LONDON - Drinks company Diageo PLC says rising spirits consumption in the U.S. helped its profit in the year to end-June to swell by 28 per cent to 2.48 billion pounds ($3.79 billion).

Diageo, whose brands include Johnnie Walker whiskey, Smirnoff vodka and Guinness stout, said Wednesday that sales rose 6.1 per cent to 15.48 billion pounds from a year earlier.

Sales in North America, its biggest market, were up 5 per cent. In emerging markets, there was double-digit growth, including an 18 per cent rise in Latin America and 11 per cent in Asia. Sales in Western Europe fell 5 per cent, however, amid the ongoing economic malaise.

Chief executive Ivan Menezes says effective marketing has been a key driver in whisky sales — Diageo's biggest and most profitable category.