The ‘past’ is the favoured territory of a historian. Things past are rarely assumed to be alive, capable of transformation and growth - and yet, who we are and what we have become is linked to what we were.
The Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka PLC (DCSL) is a company that can reference a history that is close to a century. What this inscribes on our corporate DNA is experience, maturity, innovation, fortitude and the will to succeed.
Our origin can be traced as far back as the year 1913, when the Excise Department of Ceylon which was initially created as the enforcement authority and to distribute and sell liquor products in Sri Lanka, branched out into the distillation and manufacture of liquor products. Later, in 1974 the State Distilleries Corporation was incorporated by statute to take over this venture while the Excise Department was re-introduced to operate as a monitoring authority. We are thus the inheritors of an institution that has the distinction of being the pioneer distillery in the country. We have over the course of close to a century grown to become Sri Lanka’s largest distiller who has consistently received accolades from all quarters for the enduring quality of our products. We are justifiably proud, but one of our distinguishing characteristics is the determined refusal to rest on our laurels. This is why we prefer to think of history as a living thing.
In 1989 the State Distilleries Corporation was converted to a limited company, as per the then government’s policy to privatise state-owned enterprises. The majority stake of DCSL was sold to the highest bidder on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) in 1992, the then largest transaction in the history of the CSE.
At the time of privatisation, the plant and machinery and the operating systems at DCSL were in a very neglected state and hardly conducive to the smooth running of the enterprise.
The current Management has upgraded the plant and machinery to modern standards and introduced new technologies developed by world renowned experts from France. Our staffs are regularly trained in best International Practices for manufacturing liquor at diverse locations synonymous with the Alcohol Industry such as France, Scotland and Ireland.
Large investments have also been made in Research and Development (R&D) and in upgrading our laboratories which has enabled us to scientifically compare the standard of our products with International Brands. Storage facilities and product distribution systems are upgraded to modern standards. A brand new fleet of vehicles now enables DCSL to deliver its products island wide efficiently and effectively.
Our next target is to establish our product range in the international market and our R&D Division is working tirelessly to achieve this aim in the near future.
It would be a cliché to say we’ve grown from strength to strength, but that is exactly what DCSL has done. The Company has grown beyond recognition since 1992. It has invested heavily and judiciously in several key sectors of the economy which are far removed from that of distillation, manufacturing and distribution of liquor.
We are literally present in all parts of the country in harmony with the ethos of our people and the firm belief that we must provide our citizens with the means to develop their full potential.
As such we can say with all humility that we have gone far beyond leaving the proverbial footprint on the social, economic and commercial landscape of this country; we have a presence - a living, vibrant and enthusiastic presence, that seeks to stretch the horizons of our company and our people ever outward.
Our past, our present and our future, therefore, are not only linked, but indelibly stamped with the landmarks that inevitably follow successful enterprises. DCSL has now been recognised as one of Sri Lanka’s blue chip corporate entities, a far cry from what it was in 1992.