The History Of Old Monk — India's Favourite Rum

Homegrown Staff

In 1855, Edward Abraham Dyer (who also happened to be the father of Colonel Reginald Dyer who oversaw the unfortunate massacre at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar in 1919), opened a brewery in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh to supply cheap beer to the British soldiers.

Come the 1930s, the Indian assets of Dyer’s brewery which had been purchased by H.G. Meakin came to be known as ‘Dyer Meakin Breweries’. Two years after independence, in 1949, the company was acquired by Narendra Nath Mohan and was renamed ‘Mohan Meakin Breweries’ for good.

Its star project was introduced in December 1954 by his son Ved Rattan Mohan, a retired Indian army colonel who took over the company as its managing director after his father’s death in 1969.

After a visit to Europe where he was smitten by the Benedictine monks and the liquors they produced...

...he introduced a drink matured in oak vats for seven years and infused with spices called Old Monk as a tribute to them.

After his death, his brother, Kapil Mohan, who is the better-known face of Old Monk took over the company’s gear.

Such was Kapil’s leadership that the drink became the country’s largest-selling liquor brand. The old soldier was proud of his product and never advertised it while he was alive because he knew that once people had a taste of the rum they’ll never go back to anything else.

Always easy on the pocket, it still smells of the first time it was sneaked into the hostel probably with a pack of cheap cigarettes for the first-ever drinking escapade with friends, of the first night of drinking alone on the terrace after that college breakup, of the first time it was ordered with coke and a twist of lime at dinner, and of so many firsts for so many different generations.