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Twinings of London are relocating to Poland.
November 7, 2010 10:26 AM   Subscribe

Twinings of London are relocating to Poland. Twinings, the quintessential British tea maker have traded from London since 1706, are hugely profitable and hold a Royal Warrant. The company was the first to blend Earl Grey in Britain during the premiership of Charles, 2nd Earl Grey. The relocation is being funded by a €10,000,000 grant from the European regional development fund (ERDF). Are UK taxpayers indirectly financing their own job losses? posted by Lanark (65 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, for the image tag.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:31 AM on November 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Twinings of Poland. Has a ring to it... mwahahaha. MWAAHAHAHAHA!

Excuse me.
posted by Askiba at 10:34 AM on November 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


"I am shocked, shocked, to find that outsourcing is going on in here!"
posted by Smart Dalek at 10:40 AM on November 7, 2010


I call it "Twiggings."

If you want good tea, Dilmah is excellent for an off-the- shelf brand.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:45 AM on November 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


No longer will my beloved Prince of Wales blend be hand-blended by the Prince of Wales? Sic transit gloria, and all that...

What?
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:46 AM on November 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sounds like Britain needs its own Tea Party.
posted by stargell at 10:49 AM on November 7, 2010 [15 favorites]


This is a catastrophe for their brand. This seems like New Coke stupid.
posted by humanfont at 10:51 AM on November 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


The relocation is being funded by a €10,000,000 grant from the European regional development fund (ERDF). Are UK taxpayers indirectly financing their own job losses?

Seems to me that the EU and Poland are just meaningless side issues.

It is basically rich Brits (owners and shareholders of Twinings) screwing over poor Brits (the factory employees) in order to make even more money. The rest is a xenophobic distraction.
posted by vacapinta at 10:52 AM on November 7, 2010 [26 favorites]


Damn it, that was the sound of my class credentials finally falling to the floor forever. There's no way I can boycott Lady Grey or Lemon Grove. My line in the class war sand, who knew it would be tinged with bergamot. Sad.
posted by shinybaum at 10:56 AM on November 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


Ooh, tetley make a drinkable lemon tea though. Comrades! rallly!
posted by shinybaum at 10:58 AM on November 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


@Shinybaum:

There is better Earl Grey out there. Anyone can add bergamot to tea.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:02 AM on November 7, 2010


First they stopped making HP Sauce in the UK (It's now mostly made in the Netherlands), now this? What's next, British sitcoms to be outsourced to Germany?
posted by furtive at 11:03 AM on November 7, 2010


But I like Lady Grey and the Twinings site says it's unique to them. Anyway as long as it has citrus in it I'll drink it. Taylors of Harrogate have a decent range, their Yorkshire for hard water areas is great for holidays.
posted by shinybaum at 11:12 AM on November 7, 2010


Tetley make a lot of quite serviceable teas. We order by the case :)
posted by Sportbilly at 11:20 AM on November 7, 2010


I like Tata's loose leaf. Can't they just buy it and keep the jobs in the UK?
posted by The Lady is a designer at 11:24 AM on November 7, 2010


You mean the Dutch teas of India are now moving from London to Poland?
posted by lslelel at 11:24 AM on November 7, 2010 [22 favorites]


Think of these as European jobs and the whole thing mostly goes away.
posted by bonaldi at 11:25 AM on November 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


Haha, not a bad point lslelel.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:26 AM on November 7, 2010


Twinings is definitely the best supermarket tea available in the US (although Stash does well with flavored stuff). That said, Twinings already broke my heart when they switched from folded paper to sealed glossy envelopes. Doesn't much matter to me where my Irish Breakfast comes from as long as it's there every AM.
posted by maryr at 11:32 AM on November 7, 2010


bonaldi -- it sounds like there is a bureaucratic snafu behind it, even if they are all EU jobs. ERDF grant is not supposed to be given to companies that are already doing business in an EU state. Keith Taylor, MEP asked (in the last link of the post):
Under the conditions of this funding, the Polish authorities should have requested an assurance from Twinings that the money would not be used to support the relocation of production or service facilities from another Member state. The Commission must now clarify where the process is at – and if a guarantee was not obtained, I would like to know why.
posted by autopilot at 11:35 AM on November 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Twinings are for southern poshos anyway... I'm swilling back Yorkshire Tea as I type.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:39 AM on November 7, 2010


will they lose the royal warant?
posted by clavdivs at 11:39 AM on November 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, decaf English Breakfast, decaf Irish breakfast, cold dead hands, etc.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:40 AM on November 7, 2010


Twinings makes the best Earl Grey tea. It's supposed to be a subtle flavour. It's like the others miss the point - Stash, Dilmah and especially Tazo overpower with bergamot. Stash even makes a "double bergamot" Earl Grey. Yecch. But that's just one man's opinion.

Twinings Lady Grey is awesome too.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:48 AM on November 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Their Earl Grey is not what it used to be.
posted by Lanark at 11:49 AM on November 7, 2010


Unless you are actually drinking bergamot juice your Earl Grey does not have enough bergamot.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:56 AM on November 7, 2010


will they lose the royal warant?

Most likely not, its probably part of the brand's goodwill and would show up on the balance sheets. However, digging around brings to light some interesting stuff. Twinings has been owned by a food investment company founded by a Canadian in 1964. There's rumblings of bad feelings in their plant as they're bringing in their new Polish employees to be trained by those they're making redundant. Furthermore, they're considered a profitable firm but due mostly to these types of efficiency drives (not to mention a touch of shady behaviour). Doesn't sound quite like a quality firm that the Royal Warrant and its history implies does it? (though I could be wrong)
posted by The Lady is a designer at 11:59 AM on November 7, 2010


Are UK taxpayers indirectly financing their own job losses?

That's how economic unions work. People who live in rich U.S. States have been funding development in poor states for a long time. But because we have a strong "American" identity, it's not really a big deal.

On the other hand, people in Europe have a strong "UK/France/Germany/Netherlands/etc" identity, and that causes a lot of stress. The language barrier is probably another issue.
posted by delmoi at 12:05 PM on November 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have to say I've never heard of this brand before and it the mental pronunciation is driving me nuts. I can't "think" the word without breaking it up: twin-ings, and I want to think "twinlings".

However, when I actually try saying it out loud, there's no problem.

Weird.
posted by delmoi at 12:09 PM on November 7, 2010


I call it Twy-nings but other people call it Twinnings. Honestly this just seems like more anti-Polish taking our jobs politically correct policemen forced to learn Polish bullshit to me. I'm not entirely sure how the EU works but this doesn't seem like a huge deal and even if it is I'm too twitchy about anti-Polish bollocks now to take much notice. And things with the Queen's thing on them are flamingly idiotic.

Still love you though, Lemon Grove. Call me.
posted by shinybaum at 12:18 PM on November 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Are UK taxpayers indirectly financing their own job losses?

That's how economic unions work.


Another side of the brewhaha Via:


But the company says their business case for the new site wasn't based on receiving any external funding and they've done everything right along the process.

A statement said: "It is important to emphasise that our business case for setting up a new factory in Poland was not based on receiving any external funding.

"We applied, through our legal entity in Poland, to the Polish Ministry for a grant under the Operational Programme, Innovative Economy, measure 4.5.1 (OPIE). The application was made because Twinings considered that its business plans satisfied the relevant criteria and the OPIE grant would provide financial support for our investment in the latest technology and Research and Development.

"The Polish authorities are satisfied we meet the eligibility criteria and have approved the grant for £10m. This is subject to fulfilling the terms of the agreement.

"The grant will be used for investment in innovative technologies for blending and packing premium quality tea. The streamlining solutions we will introduce to the manufacturing process will enable us to offer Twinings teas with improved quality and aesthetic features to our mainland European customers.

"Twinings remains committed to the UK. More than 90% of the tea British customers drink will continue to be produced here in the UK and Twinings is investing £6 million in its Andover factory."


butthe UK Embassy is looking into the legalities of the actual funding and loopholes in Warsaw.
posted by The Lady is a designer at 12:27 PM on November 7, 2010


Twinings tea ought to be so much better than it is.

They lost me because of their fruit tea - someone finally introduced me to a fruit tea that not only smelled nice but had some fucking flavour. Then I noticed that other brands did tea that was as good or better than Twinings, and I never bothered with them again.

Don't get me wrong, Twinings is a thousand times better than PG tips or Tetley, but it's rubbish compared to something like Jing. I'd happily whore myself out for Jing. Their Earl Grey is the most fantastic tea I think I've every drunk.

So, yeah. Sad to see a brand destroying itself, but it won't effect me any...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 12:52 PM on November 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Goddammit. Twinings is really the best supermarket brand in the U.S. (I find Tazo to be an acceptable substitute in a pinch; Stash always tastes stale to me, and PG Tips and Tetley taste like they came over on the boat during the late colonial period).

The fancy-schmancy brands tend to be no use on the English Breakfast score, as they generally seem to be much smokier than I like. (Harney & Sons, I stare accusingly in your general direction.) Smoke is for scotch and barbecue sauce, you bastards, not my morning cuppa! Revolution Tea makes a nice Earl Grey, though.
posted by scody at 1:37 PM on November 7, 2010


Only in Poland? Pity.
posted by maudlin at 1:40 PM on November 7, 2010


Hey, what was that tea advertised as "Only in Canada? Pity." Red Rose?

Neat story on the Dilmah box; I hope it's true. I'm happy to pay a little bit more for
  • a general better quality, a reduction in environmentally harmful practices,
  • a better standard of work conditions and
  • improved quality of workers' loves on general.

    Anyone know if Dilmah's is all that? How about typical "micro" coffee roasteries that have the fair trade/village/etceteras logos? Higher-end chocolates, with or without a logo? Etc?

  • posted by five fresh fish at 1:55 PM on November 7, 2010


    It is basically rich Brits (owners and shareholders of Twinings) screwing over poor Brits (the factory employees) in order to make even more money. The rest is a xenophobic distraction. posted by vacapinta
    And that is pretty much the long and short of it. America doesn't have a monopoly on rich assholes.
    posted by Old'n'Busted at 2:22 PM on November 7, 2010


    Twinings in the US is not the same as Twinings in the UK. The US Earl Grey is particularly inferior. It's already more like a label than a uniform product - so this move is unsurprising.

    (In other news: Newcastle Brown Ale is no longer made in Newcastle and the American version is only of a broadly similar colour to the "local" product).
    posted by GeorgeBickham at 2:26 PM on November 7, 2010


    (Can I also reveal that Yorkshire Tea is not, in fact, grown in Yorkshire?)
    posted by GeorgeBickham at 2:28 PM on November 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


    In Poland, we also drink a lot of tea, and of course there's the export market (from Poland to all of those other tea-guzzling nations). I'm sure Twinings thinks a tea factory in Poland is the right move for them, not "a brand destroying itself" as asserted above. But Joe Bloggs will complain when jobs (and vital top-secret tea technology!) move overseas even as he enjoys lower prices back home for the same cuppa, and he will complain about government money being used to assist such efforts unless of course that government money is used to assist his own town.
    posted by pracowity at 2:32 PM on November 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Yorkshire Tea is available in the US, though you do have to get a bit lucky, so that should win the "best tea in a US supermarket" title in my book. It is actually the most economical brand of tea bag for me to buy, once you throw out Target brand and Lipton's (don't see Red Rose here for whatever reason), at about 2/3 the price of anything else.

    This comment would be much more helpful if I knew where my mother buys her Yorkshire Tea. She's got boxes and boxes of it in the basement, so there's somewhere that has it reliably near her and she's definitely buying it from a chain store. (There's a co-op supermarket here that stocks it, as does the Berkeley Bowl (they have the Yorkshire Gold loose tea as well), but that's not particularly helpful for most people.)
    posted by hoyland at 2:46 PM on November 7, 2010


    Next thing you know the British Motor Company will give the Mini to the Germans to build in the same factories that previously made armaments used to destroy British cities. Or something.
    posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:51 PM on November 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


    In other news: Newcastle Brown Ale is no longer made in Newcastle

    Yes, and that gave them some curious legal troubles.
    posted by Skeptic at 2:54 PM on November 7, 2010


    Twinings Poland should make a giant tea bag for their giant Jesus and complete the fucking irony in this crazy world.
    posted by effluvia at 2:57 PM on November 7, 2010


    People are talking about PG Tips, Tetley, and Lipton's as though they are acceptable tea-drinking options.
    posted by Lleyam at 3:11 PM on November 7, 2010 [9 favorites]


    They are acceptable. Well PG Tips and Tetley are, I didn't drink anything else for years and if I'm working hard at something nothing else will do. You can't dig a ditch on Lady Grey and posh tea doesn't go well with greasy breakfasts.
    posted by shinybaum at 3:16 PM on November 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


    I'd make a crack about them exporting Doctor Who next, except they tried that in 1996 and the next Torchwood season is a co-production with a US network. Nothing is sacred any more.
    posted by immlass at 3:43 PM on November 7, 2010


    Britons have laid down many more lives for the drink.

    You don't say...
    posted by 7segment at 3:46 PM on November 7, 2010


    Before leaving, they should at least be forced to set Jacksons of Piccadilly free.
    posted by Karmadillo at 3:51 PM on November 7, 2010


    Be it known that this is not the first time. When Kraft bought Cadbury's last year, they swore they would not cut jobs.

    But the next morning.....
    posted by IndigoJones at 4:08 PM on November 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


    Hope they outsource Stephen Fry to Poland too.
    posted by the cuban at 4:09 PM on November 7, 2010


    I called it Twinnings until Stephen Fry appeared on my magic box and called it Twy-nings.

    Still don't drink it though.
    posted by Helga-woo at 4:31 PM on November 7, 2010


    Hope they outsource Stephen Fry to Poland too.

    Hello, unintentional Godwin.

    (Stephen Fry is Jewish)
    posted by overeducated_alligator at 4:33 PM on November 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


    Hello, unintentional Godwin.
    (Stephen Fry is Jewish)


    Ooh, 2nd degree unintentional Godwin.
    +100 points
    posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:33 PM on November 7, 2010


    The story from 2009 explains rather more about the company's moves.
    posted by Ideefixe at 5:42 PM on November 7, 2010


    This comment would be much more helpful if I knew where my mother buys her Yorkshire Tea.

    Twin Cities? Probably at Cub. I've seen it there in the international food aisle (along with other British products.) TBH every chain in the Cities save for Rainbow and Target probably has it.
    posted by Electric Elf at 8:29 PM on November 7, 2010


    Good news for Polish workers.
    posted by atrazine at 11:12 PM on November 7, 2010


    bardzo dobra wiadomość.
    posted by clavdivs at 11:57 PM on November 7, 2010


    It's reminiscent of this from Big Train
    posted by the noob at 4:04 AM on November 8, 2010


    Please people. Let's not make this FPP about tea into a discussion of tea!

    Um...
    posted by Splunge at 4:44 AM on November 8, 2010


    There's no way I can boycott Lady Grey

    Well, Trader Joe's now has Duchess Grey as well as Earl Grey.
    posted by jgirl at 6:12 AM on November 8, 2010



    Takeover 1/4 of planet for lulz then complain about globalisation. Keep trollin'
    posted by Damienmce at 6:20 AM on November 8, 2010


    Duchess Grey is awesome and has replaced Lady Grey for me, but shinybaum is in the UK. Does TJs have any stores there?
    posted by emyd at 8:13 AM on November 8, 2010


    Can't get enough of this. Nilgiri and Ceylon blacks flavored with special bergamot and sprinkled with cornflower and blue mallow blossoms. VERY fragrant, and probably not for the timid but absolutely astonishing. It's my daily tea, and I buy it by the kilogram.
    posted by SteelyDuran at 9:27 AM on November 8, 2010


    It is basically rich Brits (owners and shareholders of Twinings) screwing over poor Brits (the factory employees) in order to make even more money. The rest is a xenophobic distraction.

    Or maybe they want to help the poor Polish workers, or yet even more unimaginably they just want to do what's right for their business and customers.
    posted by zeikka at 9:31 AM on November 8, 2010


    It is basically rich Brits (owners and shareholders of Twinings) screwing over poor Brits (the factory employees) in order to make even more money.

    But, unless the Daily Mail have been misrepresenting things, aren't all the 'poor Brits' already Polish immigrants? The actual British poor have been living a life of luxury and constant breeding thanks to the lax child benefit rules, all funded by the poor, hard working middle class...
    posted by robertc at 3:55 PM on November 8, 2010


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