Friday, January 12, 2018

Kapil Mohan Maker of India’s Leading Rum Brand Dies at 88

Kapil Mohan
     Kapil Mohan, the man behind the popularity of one of India’s most popular rum brands, Old Monk, has died aged 88.  The former managing director of the family company Mohan Meakin reportedly died of a heart attack at his home on Saturday, January 6, 2018.  In poor health for some time now, he had handed over the running of the company to his nephews in July 2016 though he remained chairman until his death.
     Having retired as a brigadier from the Indian Army, Mohan joined his family’s company in the 1970s.  Although a non-drinker Mohan was also responsible for driving the success of numerous beer and spirit brands including one of India’s most popular and iconic dark rums, Old Monk, which had been launched by his father in 1954.  Despite becoming one of the leading rum brands in India for over 40 years, Mohan never gave any thought to advertising or marketing, famously once saying: “We do not advertise. I will not, and as long as I am in this chair, we will not. The best way to advertise is the product.”
      Although this may have been successful for a while, from the mid-2000s increased competition from rising liquor barons including Ponty Chadha and the now disgraced Vijay Mallya and the burgeoning popularity of whiskies began to chip away at Mohan Meakins’ and Old Monk’s market dominance.  Between 2005 and 2014, Old Monk’s market share slipped from 15% to around 5%.   Nonetheless, there remains a great deal of affection for the brand in many quarters, especially the army, and the rum’s fans took to social media to say they would raise a toast to Mohan’s memory.

     I have been able to on occasion purchase the Old Monk Rum here in the United States and it is a very nice rum to sit and sip or enjoy on the rocks.  Mohan stood his ground and if you haven’t seen it in a liquor store or in a bar, you probably have no idea about this rum.