The story of Lea & Perrins® famous Worcestershire Sauce begins in the early 1800s, in the county of Worcester. Returning home from his travels in Bengal, Lord Sandys, a nobleman of the area, was eager to duplicate a recipe he'd acquired. On Lord Sandys' request, two chemists—John Lea and William Perrins—made up the first batch of the sauce.
Lea and Perrins were not impressed with their initial results. The pair found the taste unpalatable, and simply left the jars in their cellar to gather dust. A few years later, they stumbled across them and decided to taste the contents again. To their delight, the aging process had turned it into a delicious, savory sauce.
Soon Mr. Lea and Mr. Perrins began bottling their special blend of vinegars and seasonings. Without any kind of advertising, in just a few short years, it was known and coveted in kitchens throughout Europe.
In 1839, John Duncan, a New York entrepreneur, ordered a small quantity of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce. In the space of a few short years Duncan was importing large shipments to keep up with demand. Lea & Perrins was the only commercially bottled condiment in the U.S., and Americans loved it right away. Almost 170 years later, Lea & Perrins sauce remains a favorite in households across the U.S.
To this day, the recipe remains a closely guarded secret and only a privileged few know the exact ingredients. To protect the sauce from other imitators, the famous Lea & Perrins® signature was put on the label of the bottle, as it appears today. Lea & Perrins remains true to the spirit of the original recipe, combining ingredients from around the world and aging the sauce in wooden casks for 18 months for a richer, smoother flavor.
Lea & Perrins® sauce is now available in over 75 countries worldwide. In the UK, it is used to make the ultimate cheese on toast. In Spain, it's used in salads. In Hong Kong, Lea & Perrins is a favored dipping sauce, stir-fry sauce and beef marinade. Lea & Perrins might be served with refried beans in El Salvador, and in Canada and the USA, it's known as the "Burger Booster®," used in beef burger recipes. One thing is for sure…Lea & Perrins is a versatile sauce that is a part of time-honored family traditions worldwide.
Lea & Perrins® first started exporting Worcestershire sauce around the world by boat. The lengthy and often rough sea voyages caused some of the bottles to break. The practice of wrapping each bottle in a paper wrap was devised to protect the bottles and prevent breakage.
While wrapping bottles is no longer technically necessary, the custom has endured, and the wrap has come to symbolize the rich heritage and premium quality of Lea & Perrins® sauces, a tradition dating back to 1835.
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