Diageo CEO Paul Walsh announced today that the company would be launching a Captain Morgan ready-to-drink (RTD) in the US in May this year.

The brand will be called Captain Morgan Gold and Walsh told a sales team from Merrill Lynch, today that: "You'll have heard Bacardi have launched a product called Bacardi Silver, and guess what gold is better than silver."

He went on: "Equally, Captain Morgan has got a far better resonance with our target market which is basically 25- to 35-year-olds."

Walsh was upbeat that the RTD market would continue to grow in the US saying that the UK market was 10% of the beer market where the US still had only a 1% point.

He said that RTDs were what the consumer now wanted and believed that if the market did not offer the products the consumer "would just mix it themselves".

"They (consumers) are a little tired of the same tasting beer products," Walsh said, "they find them over carbonated, there is less carbonate in these and the formula seems to be working."

Asked about the future of the category Walsh went on: "I see no reason why every one of our global priority brands cannot have a ready-to-drink line extension." Diageo's global priority brands include, Tanqueray Gin, and Johnnie Walker Scotch.

Walsh said that Diageo had "a couple" of completely new products "on the drawing board". But he continued that there were better opportunities in line extensions, in particular to "go beyond Johnnie Walker Blue" as well as looking at the rum portfolio it has recently acquired off Seagram.

For the full interview with Paul Walsh go to www.diageo.com