Sales climbed 23% and earnings 63% for kefir maker Lifeway Foods Inc., during the fourth quarter of 2005.

The Illinois-based company also saw full-year sales grow 23% to $20.1 million from $16.3 million, and pre-tax income for the year was up 19% to $4.1 million from $3.4 million.

Earnings per share increased to 30 cents per share in 2005, up from 24 cents in 2004.

The company, which also makes ethnic cheeses and a line of Hispanic drinks, recently launched ProBugs, a line of probiotic kefir drinks for kids in a single serve squeeze pouch.