In Picture: A BMTC bus doing surrogate advertising for liquor brand Old Monk.International Business Times

Kapil Mohan, an entrepreneur and a former Indian Army officer behind the success of Old Monk - the third best-selling rum in the world, passed away at the age of 88 on Saturday, January 6.

Kapil Mohan was the chairman and managing director of Mohan Meakin, which was the first known brewery in India. Mohan suffered a cardiac arrest at Mohan Nagar, near Ghaziabad. He is survived by his wife Pushpa.  

The history of Mohan Meakin can be traced back to the establishment of a brewery at Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, by Edward Abraham Dyer in 1855. Dyer was the father of 'The Butcher of Amritsar', Colonel Reginald Edward Harry Dyer, the British Indian Army officer responsible for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar, Punjab, on April 13, 1919.

Colonel Reginald Edward Harry Dyer had ordered his soldiers to open fire into a crowd of unarmed protesters, along with Baishakhi pilgrims, which left 379 people dead and 1,200 wounded. He was immediately removed from duty and was criticised both in Britain and India. Some historians argue the episode was a decisive step towards the end of British rule in India.

Currently, a multi-faceted business house with a turnover exceeding Rs 400 crore, Mohan Meakin under Kapil Mohan's leadership had launched the Old Monk rum brand on December 19, 1954. The company had then developed three distilleries, two breweries and many new franchises in India, and was behind the success of brands like Soda No. 1 and Golden Eagle.

Mohan Meakin has also expanded its business activities in areas such as malt houses, glass factories, breakfast food, fruit products and juices, malt extract factories and engineering works.

Old Monk is available across India and is a famous alcohol brand around the world. It has been the biggest Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) brand for many years. However, according to reports, its market share by volume began to stagnate between 2.3 percent and 2.5 percent between 2013 and 2016.

A plunge in the demand for Old Monk was mainly due to the consumers changing their preferences with time. Industry analysts say that Indians are drinking less rum and prefer other drinks like whisky and beer.   

Kapil Mohan, who was honoured with Padma Shri in 2010, had retired as an Indian Army Brigadier and was a recipient of the Vishisht Seva Medal.