The success of Smirnoff is due to it being a "no-nonsense vodka" and a "truly global brand", according to the man in charge of marketing it worldwide.

James Thompson, president, global marketing for white spirits and RTDs at Diageo, was speaking after Smirnoff was named the world's most powerful wine and spirits brand yesterday (8 May). Smirnoff topped a poll carried out by brand consultants Intangible Business, who surveyed the credentials of 10,000 wines and spirits worldwide.

Thompson told just-drinks that he was "honoured and delighted" to see Smirnoff come out on top. "Smirnoff is a no-nonsense vodka. There are some great super-premium vodkas out there but they can be all about the packaging and the show - we've always been about what's inside the bottle."

Smirnoff beat off competition from the likes of Bacardi, Johnnie Walker and Stolichnaya to head the survey, which was coordinated by a five-man panel of industry experts, who ranked the brands according to a series of 'hard' and 'soft' measures.

'Hard' measures included market share, historic and projected sales growth and the number of markets in which a brand was sold. 'Soft' measures included factors that were less easy to gauge including consumer awareness and brand heritage.

Thompson said Smirnoff was an "iconic" brand that appealed to consumers around the world. "It's a truly global brand and there aren't many truly global brands around. The key to its success has been finding the right distribution and communicating an international message in particular markets."

Thompson said that the brand was seeing "significant growth" in the emerging markets of Brazil, India and China but he added that Diageo "would not take its eye off the ball" in the more mature markets of the West.

"In the drinks market there are some great competitors - we need to make sure we keep ahead," he added.