Mohan Meakin

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.

Mohan Meakin
TypePrivate limited
BSE590039/ 590039
IndustryBeverages, food processing,
Founded1855 (Kasauli)
HeadquartersGhaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India
Key people
Hemant Mohan
ProductsAlcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beverages, vinegars, cereals, glass bottles, malt extract
WebsiteMohan Meakin Limited


In the late 1840s, Edward Abraham Dyer, father of Colonel Reginald Edward Harry Dyer of Jallianwala Bagh massacre, moved from England to set up the first brewery in India (later incorporated as Dyer Breweries in 1855) at Kasauli in the Himalayas.[1] The Kasauli brewery launched India's and indeed Asia's first beer, Lion,[2] which was in great demand by the thirsty British administrators and troops stationed in the sweltering heat of India. Lion was much appreciated as a beer, and one famous poster featured a satisfied British Tommy declaring, "as good as back home!".

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. Dyer set up more breweries at Shimla, Murree (Murree Brewery), Rawalpindi, Mandalay and Quetta and acquired interests in the Ootacamund Brewery (South India).

Another entrepreneur, H. G. Meakin, moved to India and in 1887 bought the old Shimla and Solan Breweries from Edward Dyer[2] and added more at Ranikhet, Dalhousie, Chakrata, Darjeeling, Kirkee and Nuwara Eliya (Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon). After the First World War, the Meakin and Dyer breweries merged[2] 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.[2] 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.[2]

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, soon after taking over. In the 1970s, the manufacturing activities of the company were diversified into other fields including breakfast cereals, fruit juices and mineral water under the leadership of Kapil Mohan (V. R. Mohan's brother).[3] The word brewery was dropped from the company name in 1982 to remove the impression that the company was engaged only in beer making. New breweries were built during the 1970s and 1980s at Chandigarh, Madras, Nepal and Kakinada near Hyderabad.

Today, Mohan Meakin's principal brands are Old Monk Rum and Golden Eagle Beer. Its other products include Diplomat Deluxe, Colonel's Special, Black Knight, Meakin 10,000, Summer Hall and Solan No 1 whiskies, London Dry and Big Ben gins, and Kaplanski vodka. Asia's original beer, Lion, is still sold in northern India.


Lion Beer is the main brand first sold by Dyer Breweries in the 1840s. Lion was originally an India Pale Ale (IPA) but the beer style was changed in the 1960s to a lager.[4] Lion remained the number one beer in India for over a century from the 1840s until the 1960s. After this, another Mohan Meakin brand, Golden Eagle, took the number one place until the 1980s, when Kingfisher became number one.[4] By 2001, Lion sales had declined substantially and Lion was only available to the Indian Army through the Canteen Stores Department (CSD). Mohan Meakin then entrusted the marketing of its original beer to International Breweries Pvt. Ltd. The brand has since been relaunched in the north Indian market. With a new label design and marketing campaign, Lion has established itself once more in the civilian market and is now expanding into markets across India.

Lion earns a place in history as Asia's first beer brand. Lion's popularity with the British during the heyday of the empire led to the start-up of other Lion beers around the world, in New Zealand, South Africa and elsewhere. Lion remains the number-one brand in neighbouring Sri Lanka, where Mohan Meakin had introduced it in the 1880s through their Ceylon brewery.


Old Monk is a vatted Indian rum, blended and aged for 7 years (though there is also more expensive, 12-year-old version). It is dark, with an alcohol content of 42.8 (army issue alcohol content is 50%). It is produced by Mohan Meakin, based in Mohan Nagar, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.

It is available in all parts of India. Old Monk is also the third largest selling rum in the world.[citation needed] Old Monk has been the biggest Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) brand for many years. The first time it was tasted officially was 19 December 1954. It is sold in five size variants: 180 ml (quarter / nip), 350 ml (half / pint), 750 ml (full / quart), 1-litre and 2-litre bottles.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Colvin, Ian Duncan (1929). The life of General Dyer. Edinburgh; London: W. Blackwood & Sons Ltd. OCLC 1335678.
    - Colvin, Ian Duncan (2006). The Life of General Dyer. Unistar Books.
    - Collett, Nigel (2006). The Butcher of Amritsar: General Reginald Dyer. A&C Black. ISBN 9781852855758.
    - Saikia, Arunabh (23 April 2016). "How Old Monk went from India's star to another has-been". Mint on Sunday. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
    - "Reginald Edward Dyer 1864-1927 - Ancestry". Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e Damodaran, Harish (25 June 2008). India's New Capitalists: Caste, Business, and Industry in a Modern Nation. Springer. p. 63. ISBN 9780230594128.
  3. ^ Onkar Singh (2005). Indian ex-servicemen. Krishna Prakashan Media. p. 267. ISBN 9788179331750.
  4. ^ a b Swinnen, Johan F.M. (2011). The Economics of Beer. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780191505010.

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