Bourbon Industry

Brown-Forman elects board, celebrates strong year

At the annual shareholders meeting in Louisville, Brown-Forman re-elected 11 directors and elected one new member to the board: Michael A. Todman, president of Whirlpool International. Todman is the spirits company's first black board member.

Company chairman and CEO Paul Varga discussed highlights of the previous year, including the continued surge in popularity of American whiskey around the world.

Varga said that in fiscal year 2014, the parent of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey, Woodford Reserve and Old Forester bourbons, Herradura tequila, Finlandia vodka and Sonoma-Cutrer wines experienced 30 percent share growth, second in the spirits industry only to Beam, which was bought by Suntory.

Underlying sales of Brown-Forman's products grew by 4 percent in the United States, by 6 percent in developed markets outside the United States, and by 9 percent in emerging markets, Varga said.

In June, the company predicted 6 percent to 8 percent sales growth this year, with annual earnings of $3.25 to $3.45 a share. Brown-Forman will next report earnings in August.