Hyderabad: The Old Monk is no more.
Rows of that rumpled, short-necked bottle with the unmistakable smiling chubby face used to give nirvana to many over the decades as they stood in queue outside wine shops.
A couple of years ago, the vanishing of the bottle from wine shop shelves broke many hearts, but the Monk returned and was putting up quite a fight against rivals like McDowell’s Celebration Rum.
However, the euphoria appears to have been short-lived with the ‘spiritual’ allure of the Old Monk now being lost entirely in Telangana, with production of the iconic vatted Indian dark rum, which had quite a cult following, completely stopping in the State.
Ironically, it is a drastic dip in patronage that is being cited as the reason for a distillery that had started operations in Shamshabad closing down now, causing the Old Monk to vanish completely from wine shops and bars across the State. Seven months ago, Telangana State Beverages Corporation Limited (TSBCL), which supplies liquor and beer bottles to wine shops, managed to get stock from the Shamshabad distillery.
Though old timers celebrated, the response was not satisfactory for the management, who closed the distillery. The situation is same in the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh as well, with the distillery in Chittoor district too being closed, according to TSBCL officials.
The last resort in many situations, the defence canteens in Secunderabad cantonment area, too is gone with Army personnel and ex-servicemen too saying they are unable to get stock. TSBCL OSD M Santosh Reddy said the corporation had attempted to sell the rum seven months ago. However, production was stopped as there was no patronage, he said.
On the other hand, wine shop owners say even McDowell’s Celebration Rum, which had usurped the Monk’s numero uno spot, is not available in sufficient quantity. “Full bottles are not available at all. Only the half and nip bottles are available,” a shopkeeper said, adding that Barcardi Black Rum and Bio Rum were, however, available.