McDowell's No.1

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McDowell's No.1
Product type Spirits, Bottled water, Soda
Owner United Spirits Limited (subsidiary of Diageo)
Country India
Introduced 1963-64
Tagline No1 Yaari Ka No1 Spirit

McDowell's No.1 is an Indian brand of spirits manufactured by United Spirits Limited (USL), a subsidiary of the Diageo. It is USL's flagship brand[1] and the largest umbrella spirits brand in the world, comprising three categories - whisky, brandy and rum (under the name McDowell's No.1 Celebration).[2][2] The brand also has bottled water[3] and soda.[4] The brand began with the launch of McDowell's No.1 Brandy in 1963-64.[5] The brand's slogan is Mera No.1 (My No.1).[6]

Origin of Name[edit]

Name "McDowell" came from Scottish "distillery king" Angus McDowell who established "McDowell and Company" in India in 1898 which was an overseas branch of "McDowell of Scotland". In 1951, "McDowell and Company" were acquired by UB Group of Vittal Mallya.[7][8]


The McDowell's No.1 brand began with the launch of McDowell's No.1 Brandy in 1963-64 by McDowell and Company, a company that the United Breweries Group had acquired in 1951.[9] In 1959, owner Vittal Mallya established McDowell and Company's first distillery at Cherthala, Kerala. McDowell's began bottling Bisquit Brandy and Dorville French Brandy, from imported concentrates. The company commissioned India's first distillation plant to produce extra neutral alcohol (ENA) at Cherthala in 1961. McDowell's launched its own McDowell's No.1 Brandy in 1963-64, following the termination of the import contract for No.1 Bisquit Brandy. The company launched McDowell's No.1 whisky in 1968. McDowell's No.1 Rum was launched in Celebration (Dark) and Caribbean (White) variants in 1990-91.[5][10]

The company was incorporated in the year 1999 as McDowell Sprits Ltd, and changed its name from McDowell Sprits Ltd to McDowell & Company Ltd on 1 April 2000. The company changed their name again to the current name United Spirits Limited (USL), with effect from 17 October 2006.[11] In 2000, Claessens International, a London-based design consulting firm, to revamp the bottle design and packaging of the entire McDowell's No.1 series. The company terminated its existing arrangement with Paul Simmons & Associates.[1]


McDowell's No.1 Reserve Whisky was launched in 1968, and is a blend of imported scotch and Indian malt whiskies[12] McDowell's No.1 whisky is sold in several countries apart from India, including Africa, Canada, the Far East, Japan, the Middle East and the United Arab Emirates.[13][14]

McDowell's No.1 Diet Mate, which the company claims is the world's first diet whisky, is a variant of McDowell's No.1 whisky.[6] McDowell's No.1 Diet Mate was launched in 2006.[15] It is sold in pint, nip, quartz, and 750 ml bottles, at a cost 5% higher than McDowell's No.1 whisky. The product was initially launched in Mumbai and Thane, but later expanded to other markets.[16] Debashish Shyam, then General Manager (Marketing) of UB Group Spirits Division, stated that "Diet Mate is not a low-calorie whisky but has ingredients that increase metabolism."[17]


McDowell's No.1 Rum was launched in Celebration (Dark) and Caribbean (White) variants in 1990-91.[5][10] It is sold in 13 countries. In 2015, it overtook Bacardi as "world's best-selling rum brand".[18][10]


McDowell's No.1 Brandy was launched in 1963-64, and was the first McDowell's No.1 branded product. The brand created the template for the many "No. 1" brands that the company would launch later. It is the largest selling brandy in the world by volume. It sold 4.6 million cases in 2004,[19] and 13.7 million cases in 2009.[20]


McDowell's No.1 is largest selling umbrella spirits brand in the world.[2][21] It sold over 13.5 million cases in 2003-04,[22] 6.07 million cases in 2005, and 8.65 million cases in 2006.[23] The McDowell's No.1 brand had sales of 27.5 million cases in 2007-08,[24] McDowell's No.1 sold 14.3 million cases of whisky, 13.8 million cases of rum and 11.7 million of brandy in 2010.[25]

The McDowell's No.1 brand achieved retail sales worth $3.8 billion in 2012-13, selling nearly half a billion 750 ml bottles of its whisky, rum and brandy, making the brand the largest alcoholic beverage franchise in India by volume and value.[26]

The following table shows the annual sales of McDowell's No.1:

Year Sales (in million cases)
Whisky Rum Brandy
2001-02 3.8[27]
2002-03 4[28]
2003-04 5.5[22]
2005 6.1[29]
2004 4.6[19]
2006 8.7[30] 6.2[31]
2007 11.5[30] 7.6[31]
2008 13.4[30] 9.7[32]
2009 13.5[30] 11.2[32] 13.7[20]
2010 14.3[30] 13.9[32]
2011 16.1[33] 15.6[32]
2012 19.5[33] 14 17.8[32]


McDowell's No.1 is mainly advertised through Bollywood and cricket,[34] as well as sports and music events. The brand has associated itself with Bollywood films such as Devdas, Road, Kaante and Stumped, through its "Mera No 1 Entertainment" banner.[34]

On 21 August 2009, McDowell's No 1 announced a tie-up with Shillong Lajong F.C., the first team to qualify for the I-League 2009-2010 from North-East India.[35] McDowell's No.1 signed Mahendra Singh Dhoni for a three-year endorsement deal, worth 26 crore (US$4.0 million), for McDowell's No 1 soda.[36]

McDowell's No.1 whisky releases special packs to commemorate Holi, Diwali and New Year.[12] McDowell's No.1 has sponsored several music concerts in India featuring artists such as Mark Knopfler,[4] Enrique Iglesias,[37][38] Elton John,[39] Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy,[40][41] Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Rajviani,[42] and Rabbi Shergill, Strings, Bombay Vikings, Shibani Kashyap, Abhijeet Sawant, Kailash Kher and Mika Singh.[43]


  1. ^ a b "New look for McDowell's No. 1 series". The Hindu. 2000-09-07. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  2. ^ a b c "United Spirits sales volumes up 20% in 2008-09". Business Line. 2009-04-16. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  3. ^ "McDowell claims BIS compliance for bottled water". The Economic Times. PTI. 2003-02-04. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  4. ^ a b "Nokia to sponsor Mark Knopfler India concert". 2005-02-15. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  5. ^ a b c "UB Group supplement with April 2011 issue" (PDF). Ambrosia. April 2011. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  6. ^ a b "Mc Dowell's No 1". Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Diageo takes full control of USL - The Times of India". Retrieved 2015-09-05. 
  9. ^ "Diageo bottles Mallya genie". 2012-11-10. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  10. ^ a b c "McDowell's No.1 Celebration Rum". Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  11. ^ "United Spirits Ltd Background details about Company Profile". Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  12. ^ a b "McDowell's No. 1 launches special limited edition cricket pack". 2003-02-05. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  13. ^ "Mudra adds McDowell's whiskey to its kitty". 2005-07-20. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  14. ^ Sarah Jacob (2011-01-07). "There's no comparison between Diageo and USL: Rekhi". The Economic Times. ET Bureau. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  15. ^ Bhupta, Malini (2007-09-06). "The low-cal high". India Today. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  16. ^ Ashish K Tiwari (2005-12-18). "New Mate is high in spirits, but low in cals". Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  17. ^ "UB revamps major brands, launches new variants". Business Line. 2006-02-08. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  18. ^ "Rum Brand Champions 2015". 2015-06-15. Retrieved 2015-09-05. 
  19. ^ a b Raja Awasthi (2005-05-22). "McDowell No 1 is top brandy again". The Economic Times. TNN. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  20. ^ a b M Padmakshan (2010-01-25). "USL's now world's No 2 spirit co, replaces Pernod". The Economic Times. ET Bureau. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  21. ^ "United Spirits sales crosses 90 million cases in 2008-09". 2009-04-16. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  22. ^ a b "McDowell's No 1 world's fastest moving whisky". The Economic Times. TNN. 2004-09-22. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  23. ^ M Rochan (2007-08-20). "McDowell's No 1 justifies its name". The Economic Times. TNN. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  24. ^ Chatterjee, Saikat (2008-09-11). "UB Says Overseas Firms Interested in United Spirits (Update2)". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  25. ^ Boby Kurian (2010-12-16). "Royal Stag, Officer's Choice challenge Mallya's empire". The Times of India. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  26. ^ "McDowell's No.1 records $3.8 bn-worth sales in 2012-13". The Times of India. April 18, 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  27. ^ "McDowell's aims to boost whisky sales". The Economic Times. PTI. 2002-08-01. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  28. ^ "UB Group spirits division posts improved sales". Business Line. 2003-04-02. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  29. ^ "UB Group's top 5 liquor brands valued at $1.8 b". Business Line. 2006-06-01. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  30. ^ a b c d e "WORLD WHISKIES – Brand Champions 2012". 2012-07-18. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  31. ^ a b "RUM – Brand Champions 2012". 2012-07-18. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  32. ^ a b c d e "RUM – Brand Champions 2013". 2013-07-08. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  33. ^ a b "Indian Whisky Brand Champions 2013". 2013-07-08. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  34. ^ a b "UB group's McDowell's No 1 to bank on entertainment". 2003-01-22. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  35. ^ "McDowell's No. 1 Announce Tie-Up With Shillong Lajong". India. August 21, 2009. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  36. ^ Ratna Bhushan (2010-12-09). "Now, Dhoni inks Rs 29-crore endorsement deal with Maxx". The Economic Times. ET Bureau. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  37. ^ "Enrique LIVE!". The Hindu. 2004-03-13. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  38. ^ "Enrique Iglesias to perform in India". ApunKaChoice.Com. 2004-04-11. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  39. ^ "Elton John casts a spell". The Hindu. 2002-11-03. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  40. ^ "Magic of three". The Times Of India. TNN. 2008-03-10. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  41. ^ "Shanker, Ehsaan and Loy rock Lucknow". The Times Of India. TNN. 2007-11-14. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  42. ^ "The Spirit of Friendship". The Indian Express. 2011-10-16. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  43. ^ "McDowell’s associates with Brilliant Entertainment to launch 'Listen' - Indi-music platform". 2005-05-30. Retrieved 2013-08-11.  C1 control character in |title= at position 9 (help)

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