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For information on the famous racehorse: Horlicks

    Horlicks is the name of a company and a malted milk hot drink claimed to promote sleep when drunk at bedtime. It is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline in the United Kingdom, India and Jamaica.

India is by far the biggest market for Horlicks, where it has traditionally been marketed as "The Great Family Nourisher." New products have been developed specifically for India, such as alternative flavours and special formulations for young children and breast-feeding mothers. Claims by GlaxoSmithKline India in 2005 that Horlicks encourages growth and alertness in children have, however, caused some controversy. Horlicks in India is one of the most trusted brands as independently measured by leading publications. Horlicks is available in many different variants in India. The traditional Horlicks is positioned as the "Great Family Nourisher" and is used by families. Junior Horlicks 1-2-3 is a large extension that is specially designed for pre-school children. Horlicks is also available as biscuits. In 2005, Horlicks Lite was also introduced targeting mature consumers and does not contain any cholesterol or added sucrose.

In the UK, GlaxoSmithKline attempted a rebrand of the product in 2004 for younger consumers by redesigning the packaging and publicising its consumption at a number of trendy London venues such as the Groucho Club.

In some countries, such as the Philippines and Malaysia, Horlicks was also sold as milky-chocolate-flavored disks in paper packets, which were then eaten as candy. Horlicks remains popular in Malaysia and Singapore where it packed under licence from SmithKline Beacham and sold in large glass and tin containers. It is also available in 1.5 kg refill packs.

In Hong Kong, Horlicks is known better as a café drink than a sleeping aid. It is served at cha chaan tengs as well as fastfood shops such as Café de Coral and Maxim's Express. It can be served hot or cold, and is usually sweetened with sugar. It is almost always made with warm milk, and ice is added to it if a cold drink is desired.

The product's name has entered the vernacular as a substitute for the profanity "bollocks." This was exploited by the company in a 1990s advertising campaign, in which a harassed housewife exclaims "Horlicks" in a context where a stronger term could have been expected, thus widening the term's exposure and usage for a while.

The term was used in July 2003 by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw ("a complete Horlicks"[1]) to describe irregularities in the preparation and provenance of a dossier regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

A combination of chocolate drink and Horlicks is commonly referred to as Choclix.


Company timeline


  • 1869: William Horlick from Ruardean Gloucestershire emigrates to the United States.
  • 1873: James Horlick, a pharmacist, joins his brother William in the U.S. and together they found the company J & W Horlicks in Chicago to manufacture a patented malted milk drink as an artificial infant food.
  • 1875: Business moves to larger premises at Racine, Wisconsin with an abundant supply of spring water.
  • 1883: U.S. patent 278,967 granted to William for first malted milk drink mixing powder with hot water.
  • 1890: James returns to London to set up an office importing U.S.-made product.
  • 1906: Slough selected as site for new factory (see picture).
  • 1908: Factory construction completed at a cost of £28,000.
  • 1909-1910: Horlicks is popular as provision for North Pole and South Pole expeditions by Robert Peary, Roald Amundsen, and Robert Falcon Scott.
  • 1914: James is made a baronet. World War I sees extensive use of this nutritional drink at home and at the Front.
  • 1921: Death of James leads the company to split, with William having responsibility for the Americas and the sons of Sir James having the rest of the world.
  • 1928: William Horlick High School is founded just north of the Horlick's headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin.
  • 1931: "Night Starvation" story developed to promote Horlicks as a bedtime drink.
  • 1935: Richard E. Byrd names the Horlick Mountains on the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf after William, in appreciation of his support. A small factory opens in Australia for the local market, including New Zealand. Horlicks milky-chocolate-flavored disks in paper packets, which were eaten as candy, were marketed in the USA via radio commercials touting the ease with which they could be taken to school by children.
    In America, Horlicks Tablets were sold as a candy. They were offered in a glass bottle resembling an aspirin jar. These tablets were used during World War II as an energy boosting treat by US, UK and other soldiers. Today, these are packaged in foil pouches, manufactured in Malaysia, and found on the Internet[2].
  • 1936: William Horlick dies, aged ninety.
  • 1945: The U.S. company is acquired by the British Horlicks business.
  • 1952: Horlicks is linked to the successful treatment of gastric ulcers and some forms of diabetes.
  • 1960: A factory is built in Punjab, India to make Horlicks from buffalo milk.
  • 1968: Factory built in Punjab, Pakistan to supply local demand (including East Pakistan, now Bangladesh).
  • 1969: Horlicks acquired by the Beecham Group.
  • 1975-1978: Factory construction and expansion in Andhra Pradesh.
  • 1989: Beecham Group becomes SmithKline Beecham.
  • 2001: SmithKline Beecham becomes GlaxoSmithKline.

See also

  • Malted milk
    • Ovaltine
    • Nestlé Milo

Horlicks advertising


  • Dan Dare Pilot of the future serial sponsored by Horlicks in 1952 and heard Monday to Friday at 7:15 PM over Radio Luxembourg.


  1. ^ "Straw says dossier was 'embarrassing'", BBC News, 24 June 2003. Retrieved on 2007-08-12. 
  2. ^ Horlicks Tablets. Page retrieved 18 March 2007
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Horlicks". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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