Vijay Mallya’s Celebration rum beats Old Monk

Bangalore, Apr 20 (TruthDive): In the rum segment, Mohan Meakin Ltd’s Old Monk has lost its leadership to McDowells No 1 Celebration rum owned by Vijay Mallya’s United Spirits.

The squat bottle identified with Old Monk dark rum in India once enjoyed brand loyalty. Today it does not even touch one-fourth of sales of Celebration Rum. Mohan Meakin is said to have lost interest in Old Monk and it decided to give the marketing to dealers across the country.

Adequate stocks were not available and many shifted. Since liquor promotions are banned, the brand is promoted through similar sounding products like soda or mineral water and  brand positioning is done through this.

With no promotion and distribution handled by dealers across the country, marketing and brand positioning took a back seat. This led to Mohan Meakin losing out and McDowell’s gained big time because Old Monk came to be considered archaic. In the days of its glory, Old Monk sold 8 million cases (each case has nine litres) and there was rum that rivalled it.

The next nearest highest brand was Bagpiper whisky. Last year, it sold only four million cases – a slide of 11% from the 2011 figure, making it fourth in rum sales and barely making it to top ten.

Despite no promotion or any effort, Old Monk sales is driven by hardcore loyalists who still swear by this brand. Yet another reason is that Old Monk remained as a cheap rum while Celebration prided itself by 20% more to give it a premium look.

India’s biggest liquor consuming States like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka lost interest in Old Monk. Old monk supply to Odisha and West Bengal was scarce.

In Tamil Nadu, basically brandy consumption tipplers saw Old Monk which had 20% share losing out since the govt-controlled distribution discourages brands not manufactured in the State. Analysts say that anybody looking for an entry into the Indian liquor industry can easily invest in Mohan Maekin and turn it around with a bit of tweaking.

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