Drinkers' Worry: Someone Hoarding Rum for Polls?
A pall of gloom has befallen the rum-lovers of Bangalore. Old Monk rum has gone off the shelves in the past couple of months. While the authorities at Mohan Meakin Brewery, the rum’s manufacturer, dodged our calls, it seems nobody knows what is holding back the supply.
Liquor shops across the city ran out of stock roughly a month ago.
“A lot of our customers ask for the classic Old Monk and Coke and we haven’t been able to serve them for over a month now. We also used to have a special chicken dish that is cooked with the rum. We hope the supply is resumed soon,” says Raghu Nandan R, manager, Tilt - The Gastropub.
Chain stores such as Drops and Spencer have suffered a similar fate and the store keepers are unaware of the reason for the shortage.
Meanwhile, there are interesting theories behind the shortage circulating in the liquor circuit. Some store owners are sure that it is a glitch in the production process that is the cause, while some others think a labour strike is going on. Some do not rule out the possibility of the brand being hoarded because it is election time.
“The brand has a huge distribution network across the country especially north India. The supply chain is vast and you cannot rule out the possibility,” said Rangaprasad, a bar supervisor.
The most commonly believed reason is that the distillery is changing hands, as a result of which the rum will soon be available in a different name and packaging.
Some even fear that Old Monk will no longer be available.
“The supply stopped two months ago. We had stock from earlier with which we managed for a while. Now, we hear it might take another month for the supply to reach us,” says the owner of Winery in Indiranagar.
According to a bar manager, while the brand might be facing a supply chain disruption, customers have enough options. “They come for a drink and people frequenting our bars are always open to another brand. The loyalty towards brands is not much seen these days, until and unless you have oldies coming in. The young crowd only wants kick, Old Monk or no Old Monk,” he says.
Keshav Dharma, another bar manager concurs. He says, “We have more of whiskey drinkers coming to our bars. While rum is popular, people go more for Khoday’s and McDowell’s mainly because there is a lot of promotion done by the latter and both are from Karnataka.”
While there is no particular reason for the popularity of the brand, Ananth Kumar A, an Old Monk loyalist gives an interesting psychological take.
He states, “The name ‘Old Monk’ immediately relates to a wise man. Among young drinkers, it is cool to be an intoxicated intellectual. Unlike McDowell’s or Khoday’s which sound like mere brands, Old Monk gives you an intellectual high too.”
When contacted, SD Meena, excise commissioner stated that he was unaware of the non-availability of the brand.