Diageo saw a boom in the growth of ready to drink products in the last financial year, led by doubled volumes of Smirnoff Ice, it said in a trading statement this week. However, Diageo's Captain Morgan Gold hit the US with a whimper rather than a bang after its May launch. Volumes had not met "high expectations", though sales had been "good", the company said. This prompted caution about the prospects of RTDs from analysts. A Teather & Greenwood analyst said: "This could be the forerunner of more problems to come, with increased numbers of products and increased margin pressure." Diageo said Seagram brands' performance had met expectations since their acquisition in December 2001. Stronger performance by Johnnie Walker and Guinness in the second half offset volume declines in the first half. Growth of global priority brands also slowed during the year due to slower volume growth in J&B and Baileys. The volatile economic climate in Latin America affected volume sales there. And Diageo said volume sales of Johnnie Walker Red were hit by stock level reductions, distributor realignments and price increases due to currency devaluation in key markets. Diageo annual results are expected on September 5. {{NEWS }}