STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 10, Number 3

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30 STiR coffee and tea / Issue 3, 2021 (June / July) S By Dan Bolton Merrill J. Fernando of Dilmah Teas, founded in Sri Lanka. Sir Thomas Lipton of the original Thomas J. Lipton Tea Packaging Co., founded in New York City. ir Thomas Lipton was an exceptional promoter whose brand transformed tea marketing. In his day, tea was an expensive luxury purchased in 92-pound (42- kilo) chests for $50 (in 1860, about $1,600 in today's dollars). The Thomas J. Lipton Tea Packaging Co., founded in New York City in 1889, produced small packets affordable for every class. Lipton initially acquired plantations to eliminate intermediaries, selling direct to the masses, but his success globally outstripped production at company-owned farms. Blending to improve the quality across gardens soon evolved into blending to ensure consistency, utilizing massive quantities of tea from many origins. Lipton today blends 20 or more teas from many tea lands with multiple formulations for specific regions. The brand wears a coat of many colors. Tea grower Merrill J. Fernando, 91, entered the tea trade in 1950 in the shadow of Lipton Yellow Label. The brand's expansive plantations dotted his native Sri Lanka, then known as Ceylon. Lipton, initially a chain of grocery stores based in Glasgow, Scotland, began purchasing Ceylon tea in the 1870s. In contrast, Dilmah Teas, the world's third-largest tea brand by value are Ceylon single origin. Dilmah Founder Merrill J. Fernando, 91 is the first and most successful tea grower to offer tea to the world that is "picked, perfected, packed at source," writes the company. Seventy-one years after he first began tasting tea professionally, Fernando's Dilmah Tea is ascendant, and 19th-century brands, including Lipton, are in decline. What are the characteristics of a successful 21st-century brand? Authenticity William Arruda, writing in Forbes, explains that "successful brands are based on au- thenticity, drawn from real achievements, real strengths, and real emotions that are alive and well at all levels in the organization." Authenticity withstands scrutiny. Brands built on a foundation of anonymous suppliers are at a disadvantage. Inviting consumers to take a closer look makes it possible for growers and blenders to establish their own identity. Brands that are soundly built will burnish the reputation of the tea lands where they originate. Tea Branding: Authenticity, Transparency, Trust Three characteristics shared by successful 21st-century tea brands

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