A Northumberland couple have brewed up a sales success after striking a deal to supply Britain’s biggest supermarket chain with their unique tea honouring England’s Border County.
Bill and Helen Logan’s Northumberland Tea is to be stocked in 66 Tesco stores across the North East.
And the tie-up with the grocery giant could see thousands raised for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation with a percentage of the profits from the sale of every box of 80 teabags going to the cancer charity based at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.
Northumberland Tea only launched in May last year but is already available in 135 independent retail outlets from Berwick to Harrogate.
Initially Tesco indicated it would only be going into 28 stores, but buyers were so impressed with the triple blend of Assam, Kenyan and Sri Lankan (Ceylonese) teas, that another 38 outlets were quickly added to the portfolio.
The Tesco roll-out means Bill, 56, and Helen, 45, are a step nearer realising their dream of putting Northumberland on the international food map in the same way Yorkshire Tea has done for its home county.
Jack Charlton at Tesco, Gateshead, enjoying Northumberland Tea
The deal will see the brand fronted by Ashington-born football legend Jack Charlton selling in both Tesco superstores and Extra’s outlets.
It marks the first major retail listing for the Logans’ beverage which is marketed under the taglines ‘The best cup since 1966,’ alluding to the part Jack Charlton played in England’s famous World Cup win, and ‘Made for Northumbrians…and tea lovers everywhere.’
Last night the couple from Corbridge, who before launching into the tea business ran a chain of coffee shops across Tyneside, described the Tesco agreement as “significant for us, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Northumberland.
“The deal will lead to a greater awareness of not just Northumberland and all it has to offer in the way of food, drink and fantastic scenery and people, but will also help raise money and awareness for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
“Lady Elsie has said that Bobby called his Foundation his ‘last and greatest team,’ and we are very proud to be supporters.
“Every box of teabags sold helps raise money for the charity, and we hope that now the label is available in Tesco tea drinkers who may not have heard of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation will be encouraged to find out more and perhaps make their own donations.”
They added: “It is phenomenal that Tesco has recognised the excellence and appeal of the brand. We are taking a leap into the unknown but we are confident Northumberland Tea will sell.
“We feel there is room out there in the world of tea for a company like ours and we are particularly proud of its high quality.
“It would be fantastic if the brand could become as well-known as Yorkshire Tea.”
Bill and Helen hope the Tesco deal will help secure sales of the drink beyond the North East.
It certainly seems to be appealing to online buyers with orders coming in from as far afield as Germany, New Zealand and Canada as well as other parts of the UK as holidaymakers who have developed a taste for it on their travels North stock-up on supplies.
Jack Charlton, 78, is a fan of the cuppa and says his family and friends now all drink it.
He is particularly pleased that Northumberland Tea is keeping fellow footballer and friend Sir Bobby Robson’s memory and legacy alive.
“When Bill and Helen asked if I would help out with the tea that was going to help raise money for Bob’s charity, I was more than happy to do so.
“I liked Bob; he was a good lad, a good friend of mine. We first met as footballers while we were both at school and were friends for over 50 years.
“Bob coped so well while he was ill. I never heard him complain once – he just got on with it.”
The Logans were prompted to support the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation after Helen’s parents both died from cancer. Her father, Michael, who passed away at the age of 70 in July 2011, took part in the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation cancer research trials.
With the Tesco deal under their belt, Bill and Helen are looking to launch their own blend of Earl Grey – the great British reformer’s ancestral seat was at Howick Hall near Alnwick, Northumberland – and perhaps even a special blend coffee.