Vijay Mallya’s Entrepreneurship Journey

King of Good Times, India’s Richard Branson and The Liquor Baron - Vijay Mallya's Entrepreneurship Journey from a different lens.

What picture would you imagine when you read the name, Vijay Mallya, in this day and age? Not a good one! Isn’t it? After all, ‘actions speak louder than words.’  But let’s not conclude yet.

Vijay Mallya may have lost his credibility today but there was a time when he made his mark and was very much relevant. Let’s not forget his contributions and achievements during his entrepreneurship journey.


‘Actions speak louder than words’

The Mallya Legacy: Teachings of his Father

Vijay Mallya started off very young. He belonged to an affluent family. He got his entrepreneurship lessons from his father who was a successful investor and a businessman of his times. 

He imbibed the quality of being competitive and striving for the best, from his father, Vittal Mallya. It was his father’s teachings that made him think, envision a much bigger empire and excel in things as mediocrity was something his father never appreciated. Mallya’s father believed in accountability and he actually learnt record-keeping from him. He was groomed as a businessman under very strict rules laid down by his father.

Vijay Mallya became the chairman of United Breweries Groups (UBG) in 1983 following the death of his father when he actually wasn’t ready.

How Mallya Built the Empire

The Indian tycoon has been very popular for his extravagant lifestyle. Addressed as ‘India’s Richard Branson’ for his investments in a brewery and liquor company, an airline, Formula One (F1) Team ‘Force India F1 Team’ and Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket club ‘Royal Challengers’ Bangalore. He was the owner of the Bangalore cricket team and co-owner of India Formula One (F1) Team. He was also a member of Parliament twice.

Often called as flamboyant, he was entitled the ‘King of Good Times.’  The Kind of Good times label was actually a slogan designed for his ‘Kingfisher Beer’ brand and he was the ambassador to promote the same. 

Mallya had varied interests. From horses, yacht (Indian Princess and Indian Empress), airlines, brewery, football to F1 cars, he sought all and was a part of all.  

The ‘liquor baron’ owns 26 properties all over the world. He has quadrupled the business (UB Group) he inherited from his father and grew it into a multinational conglomerate. He built blockbuster brands like Bagpiper, Mc Dowell’s, Kingfisher, etc.

‘Kingfisher Calendar’ is published annually by the United Breweries (UB) since 2003 featuring the models in swimsuits. The Kingfisher calendar platform gives an opportunity to the ‘Kingfisher Supermodels’ to get noticed. The ideation of the platform is credited to Vijay Mallya along with his Photographer Atul Kasbekar. The platform gave a boost to the careers of many models and Bollywood actresses like Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone, Lisa Haydon, Yana Gupta and Nargis Fakri. This is one of the long-lasting contributions of Vijay Mallya to India along with his brewery business.

What is in it for me?

Known for all right reasons, until one idea/investment went wrong (the defunct Kingfisher airlines). Give a pause and look at this from a different perspective. Look at what he has created!

We must acknowledge the fact that he built a big business empire and survived for more than 30 years in his entrepreneurship journey. Ex-Chairman of United Spirits but continues to be the Chairman of the UG group (India) and other businesses. Despite all odds, Mallya lived and continues to live a life that is still a dream for many!

Roopali Kotwal
Roopali Kotwal
Roopali is a former author with Dutch Uncles, a subject matter expert with over a decade of experience. She writes on Human Resource Management and Business Operations.


  1. This is an awesome viewpoint, and yes we should always give the credit where it is due. Vijay Mallya will always be remembered as “king of good times”. Well articulated, Roopali! ???


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