The McDowell’s No.1 of 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. 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.
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.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.