Have you ever held a glass of some dark, warm rum at midnight and felt everything fade away until there’s just you, the effervescent rum and the feverish moon? No? Okay, that’s probably just me….. and thousands of other people!
For anyone who doesn’t know what this is about, rum is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from various sugarcane byproducts such as molasses, honeys, etc. There are various kinds of ru, of which the ‘light’ rums are usually used for making cocktails, but the ‘golden’ and ‘dark’ ones are meant to be drunk neat, on the rocks or used as cooking ingredients.
But today, we will be talking about a rum that’s so integral to India’s emotional stability that a rumor of it’s parent company shutting down caused straight up mass hoarding! Yes, we’re talking about none other than deified the Old Monk rum!
Old Monk first colored our dilapidated lives on the 19th of December, 1954. It was reportedly created by Ved Rattan Mohan, the late managing director of Mohan Meakin Pvt. Ltd.
The story goes - A Scotsman named Edward Abraham Dyer set up a brewery in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh. This man was none other than the father of ‘The Butcher of Amritsar’, Colonel Reginald Dyer, the man responsible for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Soon the Brits left, and the brewery went into the hands of Mohan Meakin Pvt. Ltd.
Back in the day, as a lot of drinking as well as army veterans will tell you about this brand of rum called Hercules, which they claimed was tastier and stronger than our modern day Old Monk. But as soon as it hit the market, the word of Old Monk spread like forest fire and soon went on to become the most popular IMFL (Indian Manufactured Foreign Liquor) brand in the country. Old Monk dominated the rum market, with the others lagging far behind.
Fact : Old Monk has never relied on advertising. Word of mouth and an ardent fanbase is all that was required for the rum to acquire a legendary status in the market.
But like all things, this one too had to take it’s path downhill. There was a time when Old Monk sold eight million bottles annually, but now it sells just a quarter of that. The sales were so low at a point that rumors started bubbling up, that the rum was making it’s last run. That is, until Mohan Meakin assured us that Old Monk would still be available.
The hype isn’t of the same magnitude anymore, but loyalists still enjoy a drink every other day. The average Old Monk bottle/quarter is aged for 7 years, but in case you haven’t tried the Supreme and Gold Reserves which are aged for 12 years and blended with matured spirits, y’all are missing out. Supreme is the choice an ardent fan of the drink should go for, as it comes in a bottle shaped like….an old monk!
So the next time you’re at a house party and you catch a glass monk smiling at you through the room, you know it’s time for a drink!