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Case Study

Serving tea to the world: Twinings


The Twining family made its name in the weaving business in Gloucestershire, UK, in the 1600s. After a move to more prosperous London in the 1680s, one of the family’s younger members, Thomas Twining, set his sights on continuing the family tradition. However, he landed a job handling tea shipments for a wealthy merchant – and the rest is history.

By his mid-20s, Thomas Twining was immersed in the tea trade; and when his son took over in the 1740s, the Twinings name was about to go global. By 1749, Twinings tea was being sold in America. Such was its popularity across the Atlantic that when Boston Tea Party rebels protested against British taxation by dumping English tea into the harbour in 1773, it is said that Twinings tea was not among the goods discarded.

More prestigious recognition followed in 1837 when the company was granted its first Royal Warrant for tea, designating the company as the supplier to the household of Queen Victoria. Twinings has supplied tea to every British monarch since.

Today, Twinings has a global reputation for its beverages which, along with tea, now include coffee, hot chocolate, and malt drinks. It has occupied its London premises since 1706 and is the city’s longest-standing ratepayer.

Along with its long history and commitment to the finest produce, Twinings’ dedication to ethics and sustainability sets it apart from the competition. Through its ethical tea programme, Sourced with Care, the company aims to enhance the quality of life in the communities where it sources tea. Twinings is also a founding member of the Ethical Tea Partnership, an organisation dedicated to monitoring and improving conditions on tea estates globally.

Twinings is part of the Associated British Foods Group, which posts annual revenues of over GBP 1.1bn.

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