The origin of this liquor major goes back to 1825, when a Dr.Mcdowell started a wine business in Madras. The business later expanded thanks to the acquisition of many valuable agencies of major companies such as George Younger and Sons, well known Scotch brewers, M/s Lipton and Van Houtens Limited. The firm had several large godowns for the storage of wines and spirits imported from Europe.
In 1880, the firm ventured into cigar manufacturing. The manufacturing operations were first setup in Trichy, after which facilities were opened at their headquarters, Mcdowell House, Second Line Beach, Madras. It soon became a pioneer in the blending of the finest imported leaf with the indigenous tobacco was renowned for its brands such as “The Light of Asia” and the “Pearl of Kashmere”.
It was reconstituted as a company in 1898, with an initial capital of Rs.8 Lakhs. In 1951, it was acquired by Vittal Mallya, the founder of the UB Group, which continues to use the name for its flagship product.