A sneak peek into the world of the Old Monk Rum

5 min readDec 19, 2020


Mohan Meakin is a large group of companies which started with Asia’s first brewery incorporated in 1855 (but established much earlier) by Edward Dyer at Kasauli in the Himalayan Mountains in India under the name Dyer Breweries. The Kasauli brewery launched India’s and indeed Asia’s first beer, Lion, which was in great demand by the thirsty British administrators and troops stationed in the sweltering heat of India.

The brewery was soon moved to nearby Solan, close to the British summer capital Shimla, as there was an abundant supply of fresh springwater there. The Kasauli brewery site was converted to a distillery, which Mohan Meakin Ltd. still operates.

The dyer brewery was later merged with Meakin Brewery at the end of first world war and, in 1937, when Burma was separated from India, the company was restructured with its Indian assets as Dyer Meakin Breweries, a public company on the London Stock Exchange.

Following independence, Narendra Nath Mohan raised funds and travelled to London, where he acquired a majority stake in Dyer Meakin Breweries

He took over management of the company in 1949 and built new breweries at Lucknow, Ghaziabad and Khopoli (near Mumbai) and the company name was changed to Mohan Meakin Breweries in 1967. Gaziabad is the place where Old Monk is ‘created’

On the death of Mohan in 1969, his eldest son, V. R. Mohan, took over as managing director. He introduced a number of new products that are brand leaders today but died in 1973,

VR Mohan is the person who created OLD MONK RUM on December 19, 1854 for the Military with 50% of alcohol by volume and in the late 1960s it was available for commercial sale and its commercial variant was prepared by Kapil Mohan by decreasing the alcohol percentage as per the regulations issued by Governments of different countries.

Colonel Ved Mohan, had been inspired by the serene life of Benedictine monks and the drinks they brewed as they led their ascetic life in the mountains where they lived in contentment. And hence, the drink got its name.

Superior in taste and finest quality, the brand soon became one of the leading dark rums in the world. The affordable pricing strategy has also worked in their favor.

Old Monk does not spend on advertising and has certainly never indulged in surrogate advertising. The name is enough and is marketed by mouth publicity.

There was a time when Old Monk dominated the rum market. There were other brands also but none came close in quality or popularity. About eight million bottles were sold annually. Today the sales are a quarter of that and they continue to decline. There were recent rumors about Old Monk closing down but its makers, Mohan Meakin Ltd, assured that Old Monk is not going to be taken off market. But still Old Monk is the second largest selling Rum in India after McDowell’s Celebrations Rum which is golden rum and is freshly packed

The clear and obvious reason is the difference between quality and quantity

While talking about international table it’s the third largest selling Rum Brand in the world after Bacardi and McDowell’s.

Old Monk Rum is quality dark rum made by traditional method, blended for 7 years. In the manufacturing process of Old Monk Rum only the original rum mixtures are used, some of which may be 50 years old. This ensures the original Old Monk Rum taste that has remained genuine for nearly a century.

The sweet aroma of the beverage has the notes of caramel, chocolate, ripe peach and vanilla. The taste of Old Monk Rum is not as sweet as the sweet aroma may refer to.

Although the beverage has 42.8% alcohol by volume in the USA and 40% in India, it has a soft taste. Besides the dominant flavor of roasted coffee beans and vanilla also spicy hints provided by storage of rum in the charred oak barrels can be felt. The color of Old Monk Rum is deep brown-black and it has a creamy consistency.

Unique handy bottles are handmade. Therefore, each of them is slightly different.

Old Monk represents India in Suzuki Chairman Osamu Suzuki’s private collection of private liqueurs from all 192 countries in which Suzuki is present.

Nowadays Old monk is one of the most popular alcoholic brands in the world and the old monk lovers never call it “rum” they always say “OLD MONK RUM” even some find it disrespectful and even get offended when people call it ‘rum’.

Interestingly Old Monk is the only alcoholic brand to have a dedicated fan club, which is known as COMRADES — Council of Old Monk Rum Addicted Drinkers and Eccentrics and is located in Mumbai

Old Monk has even inspired poetry. Internet poet Glenn Satur has penned a verse which goes like this…

For Seven years you’ve been blended to a taste so fine.

You’ve always been around for us at any time.

A good companion, who comes at a very low price.

You bring people together from sunset to sunrise.

We bang on the shutters for you when the shops are closed by night.

We care a damn if we are unable to get a coke or sprite.

Not just this poetry, Old Monk even has fully dedicated songs in the Indian Music Industry and numerous videos about old monk rum talking about facts, humor and stories on various platforms which have a different and a huge fan base.

Old Monk is available in following Variants

  • Old Monk XXX rum (7 year blended spirit)
  • Old Monk Supreme (12 years blended spirit)
  • Old Monk Gold Reserve (18 years blended spirit)
  • Old Monk Deluxe XXX
  • Old Monk White Rum
  • Old Monk Legend- Limited Edition (Most expensive Domestic Rum)
  • Old Monk — The Connoisseur Collection — Includes:

-Old Monk Orange Rum

-Old Monk Lemon Rum

-Old Monk Apple Rum

-Old Monk White Rum

-Old Monk Cranberry Rum

-Old Monk Cola Rum

-Old Monk Mojito

Old Monk is also awarded many times on various occasions by different organizations like Monde World Selections and is winning Gold Medal Every Year

Every Indian have a different and interesting story about their Old Monk experiences and their own way of drinking, I usually prefer drinking it with Lukewarm water and a slice of lime or the legendary combination of “monk n coke”

What’s your favorite way to drink old monk? Comment below!!

And write down your Old Monk Story

We will surely read it while drinking OLD MONK RUM!!!

-Vatsalya Bhatnagar




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