Mohan Meakin is a large group of companies 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.
In the late 1820s, Edward Dyer moved from England to set up the first brewery in India (later incorporated as Dyer Breweries in 1855) atKasauli in the Himalayan Mountains. The Kasauli brewery launched India's and indeed Asia's first beer, Lion, 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 shifted 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 operate. Dyer set up more breweries at Shimla, Murree (Murree Brewery), Rawalpindi, Mandalay, Quetta and acquired interests in the Ootacamund Brewery (South India). Another entrepreneur, H G Meakin, moved to India and bought the old Shimla and Solan Breweries from Edward Dyer and added more at Ranikhet, Dalhousie, Chakrata, Darjeeling, Kirkee and Nuwara Eliya (Ceylon). After the First World War, the Meakin and Dyer breweries merged 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, N.N. Mohan raised funds and travelled to London where he acquired a majority stake in Dyer Meakin Breweries. 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.
On the death of N.N. Mohan in 1969, his eldest son Colonel 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 the helm. 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 Brigadier(Dr.)Kapil Mohan V.S.M link title (Col. V.R. Mohan's brother). Subsequently 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 seventies and eighties 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.