It all started in 1790 when the 25-year-old son of a prosperous Scottish cabinetmaker asked for a £300 loan from his father to set up as a wine merchant in London.
This ambitious young man was George Sandeman, who soon established an impeccable reputation for quality and integrity.
At a time when ‘brand names’ were unheard of and wines were shipped in barrels rather than bottles, Sandeman started in 1805 to ‘brand’ the wood casks with the company’s initials – GSC (George Sandeman & Co.) – using a hot iron to give the wine a pioneering ‘signature’ that guaranteed its quality and origin.
This is also the year George Sandeman moved the business to 20 St. Swithin’s Lane which, built over an ancient vault, provided dry and cool cellars ideal for the ageing of the wines. Instrumental in the building of the brand, this historical site housed Sandeman’s head office until 1969, when it moved to the Albert Embankment opposite the Tate Gallery.