A1 Steak Sauce is produced by Brand & Co. which is a subsidiary of Premier Foods in the UK and Kraft Heinz in the US. This condiment has been in the market since 1861 and has been distributed all throughout the globe. But did you know that A1 Steak Sauce was invented two centuries ago?
About 200 years ago, even before solid chocolate was invented, Chef Henderson William Brand, King George IV’s private chef, came up with the recipe for the A1 Steak Sauce. Centuries later, the A1 brand is still the top-selling steak sauce in the world.
What is the Meaning of A1?
Henderson William Brand, the private chef to England’s monarch King George IV, produced A1 Steak Sauce sometime in the late 1820s. It is said that when the King tried the sauce, he was so happy that he called it A number 1, and this was eventually shortened to A1 as the time passed.
The term A1 has also been used in other industries. A ship insurance company in the UK used the term to describe first-rate ships. (Source: Brand & Co)
Who is Henderson William Brand?
Henderson William Brand was born in Durham, England, and was the son of an innkeeper and brewer. While it is uncertain if the young Brand worked in his father’s kitchen, it seems that this is where his interest in cooking started.
At the age of 12, Brand started working as an undercook in the kitchen of the Prince Regent who was later crowned King. King George IV was known to be a gastronome with exquisite taste. Brand, then went from undercook, to sous chef, and eventually the personal chef of the king. (Source: Mashed)
How Did Henderson William Brand Start His Line of Condiments?
With his experience, Brand published an updated version of Simpson’s Cookery. At the time, the cookbook was quite popular. In 1835, he set up a shop in London and his first two products were; Essence of Chicken and Essence of Beef.
His business did not turn out the way he initially hoped it would. He declared bankruptcy and rebranded his trading to HW Brand. In 1862, he was appointed the cook and manager of cuisine at the Internation Exhibition in London and that’s where he debuted the Brand’s International Sauce which ranked, A1. (Source: Mashed)
Why is A1 Steak Sauce No Longer Being Sold in the UK?
Ironically, although the famous A1 Steak Sauce was invented in the UK, it is no longer sold there. It is still manufactured locally, but the supplies made are only intended for export. The sauce was phased out of British supermarkets in the 1970s.
The steak sauce market in the UK is very competitive. There are several options available from HP, Daddy’s Fletcher’s Tiger Sauce, and Heinz Ideal. A1 just couldn’t match with their competitors. (Source: Mashed)
Why is the A1 Steak Sauce in Canada Different?
Kraft owns the rights to A1 in Canada. However, compared to the ones available in the US and UK, it tastes very different. With a quick look at the recipes, the Canadian version of A1 is quite different compared to that of the US.
The Canadian version is quite sweet and uses a lot of sweeteners like sugar, caramel, and molasses. Whereas the US version focuses on stronger flavors from dried onions and garlic. (Source: Mashed)