Sunday, May 19, 2013

C. Tanqueray & Co.

The Tanqueray family were originally silversmiths and left France for England early in the 18th century, where three successive Tanquerays became rectors in Bedfordshire. In 1830 Charles Tanqueray, then aged just 20, broke with family traditions and rather than become a clergyman, established a distillery in Vine Street, in London's Bloomsbury, then an area noted for its spa water.

Tanqueray experimented with many possible ingredients before finally producing the key balance of ingredients and Tanqueray London Dry Gin was launched. London Dry Gin is made by means of double distillation of grain. Botanicals are added during the second distillation. The Tanqueray recipe was a closely guarded secret, although it is known to contain four botanicals thought to be juniper, coriander seed, angelica root, and liquorice root.

Charles died in 1868 and his son Charles Waugh Tanqueray took over the company. Charles Waugh quickly built on his father's success, particularly in export markets where he promoted the brand through a network of international agents.

In 1898 Charles Tanqueray & Co. merged with another gin distiller, Gordon & Co., to form Tanqueray Gordon & Co. Following the merger all production was transferred from the Vine Street Distillery to Gordon's Goswell Road site in Clerkenwell. From that time onwards Tanqueray gin was heavily promoted in the United States and this remains the brand's largest market to this day. In 1922 Tanqueray Gordon & Co. joined the Distillers Company which was acquired by Guiness in 1986 to form United Distillers, which would go on to become Diageo, the world's largest producer of spirits. In 1998 all production of Tanqueray gin was moved to the Cameron Bridge Distillery in Scotland. Diageo currently sells approximately 2 million 9 litre cases of Tanqueray gin a year.

by Mark Matlach

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