Indian liquor's Old Monk Kapil Mohan passes away

Last Updated: Tue, Jan 09, 2018 12:20 hrs
Kapil Mohan (Image Courtesy: Twitter)

88-year-old Kapil Mohan is no more. The monk behind one of India's most iconic spirits - Old Monk - and the Chairman of Mohan Meakin suffered a fatal cardiac arrest in Ghaziabad on Saturday, Janaury 6.

Brigader Dr Kapil Mohan, was known to be a teetotaller, although he launched some of India's finest liquor brands.

Ironically, Old Monk - the drink that kept India's soldiers in high spirits - has a connection with 'Amritsar's Butcher', Colonel Reginald Edward Harry Dyer. Mohan Meakin the company behind it was formed from Dyer Meakin Breweries Ltd. - formed by the merger of Dyer breweries established by Colonel Dyer's father Edward Abraham Dyer in 1855 and Meakin Breweries established by HG Meakin after the first World War. Dyer Meakin Breweries Ltd. became Mohan Meakin Breweries Ltd.on November 1, 1966 and was known as Mohan Meakin Ltd. from April 24,1980.

Colonel Dyer, it must be remembered, was the trigger-happy officer from the Queen's England behind the the dastardly Jallianwala Bagh massacre that left 400 dead, 1200 wounded, and an entire nation in mourning.

After the Brits left India, Brigadier Kapil Mohan re-launched the brand, turned it to a modern business house with revenues exceeding Rs 400 crore, and a beverage that remains the favorite of the military canteen.

Besides Old Monk, Mohan Meakin also manufactures brands such as Solan No. 1, Soda No 1 and Golden Eagle, and runs a chain of successful franchises. Besides liquor, the group also forayed into other foodstuffs such as breakfast food, fruit products and juices as well as engineering and glass works.

India's largest 'Indian Made Foreign Liquor' brand however has has its market share dip thanks to fewer takers for rum. The company sold only a quarter of its 1960s sales between 2010-14, nearly a mere 4 million cases in fact.

For a man who made his name with liquor, Brigadier abstained from liquor and was a teetotaller. Brigadier was honored with a Padma Shri in 2010, and was also the recipient of the Army's Vishisht Seva Medal.

He is survived by his wife Pushpa, and his nephews, Hemant and Vinay.

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