The share price has fallen back towards the $40 low it occupied in 2016. This is hardly surprising, given that earnings per share - $2.1 - are exactly the same for the year just ended as they were eight years ago.

As we wrote last spring, investors are punishing a diversification drive into rum, gin and tequila that has been slow to bear fruit.

Moreover, the whisky segment - the Group's traditional powerhouse - is itself struggling this year, with sales down 2% and a very uneven performance from the various Jack Daniel's ranges.

The tequila segment underperformed even more, with sales down 7%. It was rum and gin that saved the day, thanks to the acquisition of the Diplomatico and Gin Mare brands; organic growth in these two segments reached 15%.

All is not doom and gloom either: Brown-Forman posted an operating margin of 33.8%, close to its all-time high, and returned $804 million to its shareholders, divided equally between dividends and share buy-backs - at a valuation that is beginning to look attractive.

Forecasts for next year are timid, even if cash generation should improve with the reduction of the investment program and a probable new series of price increases. Further share buy-backs are to be expected.

As it stands, the twenty-times-earnings valuation confirms a company of high quality - with a 30% return on equity - but lacking growth. A further multiple contraction would be an obvious buy signal.