The head of Diageo has attacked the tax pressures placed on RTDs in the UK. Speaking exclusively to just-drinks yesterday (3 November), the drinks company's CEO, Paul Walsh, called the tax on RTDs in the country "unreasonable."

"The reality is that they (RTDs) have been subject to, I would say, unfair tax burdens," Walsh told just-drinks. "In the UK, for example, a bottle of Smirnoff Ice carries a much higher tax burden than the equivalent strength beer.

"That's the consumption occasion that it (Smirnoff Ice) is targeting, so it strikes me as very unreasonable," Walsh added.

RTDs have borne the brunt of media attacks in the UK over the past few years, as fuelling the binge-drinking epidemic across the country.

When it was put to him that the high taxation of RTDs in the UK may be a concession to the responsible drinking lobby, Walsh countered: "I'm sure that's part of it but, in reality, does anybody confuse Smirnoff Ice with a non-alcoholic product? I think not."

For the first part of this exclusive interview with Paul Walsh, see next week.