Kasauli is a small cantonment town in Solan district in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The cantonment was established in 1842 by the British colonial rulers as a hill station. Located 77 km from Shimla, 65 km from Chandigarh and 50 km from Panchkula, it still retains an old world charm.
The Kasauli distillery and brewery were set up in the late 1820s at Kasauli (before the town was established nearby) by Edward Dyer. He brought with him, brewing and distilling equipment from England and Scotland. This equipment came by sailing ship as far up the Ganges river as possible, before being loaded onto ox drawn carts and taken up to the Himalayas via the route to Shimla. Some of the original equipment including the copper pot stills are still in use today.
Edward Dyer selected the location of his brewery/distillery due to the fine springwater available there and because the climate at this altitude was similar to the climate of Scotland. His stated ambition was "to produce a malt whisky as fine as Scotch whisky," albeit from much higher highlands. Another reason for this location was that there was a ready market of British troops and civilians in Shimla and elsewhere in Punjab for his products. He started by making India Pale Ale and malt whisky from the Kasauli brewery and distillery. Later on, after the town of Kasauli was established and began using much of the springwater, the brewery was dismantled and moved to nearby Solan where it
still operates today. However, the distillery remains at Kasauli and is the oldest operating distillery in Asia and one of the oldest whisky making distilleries in continuous operation anywhere in the world.
Edward Dyer incorporated his company in 1855, following the full establishment of British East India Company rule over the Punjab with the annexation of Punjab in 1849. This brought the area under British law which included the incorporation of companies. The company was incorporated as Dyer Breweries Limited and it later merged with Meakin Breweries Limited to become Dyer Meakin Breweries Ltd. The company still exists today under the name Mohan Meakin Limited.