Beam, the global spirits company, has exceeded its expectations to report a 10% rise in earnings in Q4 2011. Net income for the Jim Beam and Courvoisier producer was $94.1m (2010: £85.4m), with net sales at $637.5m (2010: $629.8m), for the quarter. Operating income fell from $140.1m to $136.2m. Net income across the year fell from $917m to $487.6m. Net sales were $2.3bn (2010: $2.1bn). Last year the company sold off its golf business and diverged its home and security arm to create a separate company, Fortune Brands Home & Security. Matt Shattock, president and chief executive of Beam, said: “The Beam team executed well against our growth strategy in 2011, and delivered sales and earnings ahead of our long-term growth goals. “Comparable sales increased 4% in the quarter and adjusted pro forma diluted EPS was up 9%. While the timing of sales – principally due to a significant inventory reduction in Mexico in advance of our distributor transition in that market – reduced Q4 sales by about two points of growth, market-beating performance for our global Power Brands, as well as new-product launches, helped drive our gains in the quarter.” In December Beam bought the Irish whiskey firm Cooley Distillery c.$95m.