In Marseilles in 1897, two brothers, Lazare and Petrus Digonnet, inherited their uncle's taste for exotic foodstuffs and launched Les Thés de l'Eléphant. The business was so successful that it quickly became the largest in France.
The following year, the British citizen George Cannon, married to a French woman, created his eponymous tea trading company in Paris.
THE FRENCH SPECIALIST OF HIGH QUALITY LOOSE TEA
While Les Thés de l'Eléphant developed in a rather industrial way, George Cannon favored a confidential clientele of luxury grocery stores, which he welcomed in a two-room apartment near Montparnasse. His selection of high quality teas and a limited choice of ten or so products gave him a solid reputation in the industry.
In 1950, Les Thés de l'Eléphant, then leader with more than 25% of the market share, took over La Compagnie Coloniale. The family group grew ("L'Eléphant" in Marseille, "La Coloniale" in Paris) and increased its dominance on the French market. But strategic and succession differences lead to the sale of the company in 1969.
THE TEA ARISTOCRAT
André Scala, co-director of the group, bought the George Cannon company in early 1970. His son Raymond, director of La Compagnie Coloniale and responsible for the selection and purchase of teas, took over the general management in 1975, reducing the company from a staff of 300 to a team of three.
Nicknamed "the aristocrat of tea" by his peers, Raymond Scala was the first in France to introduce red teas from Yunnan, dark Pu'Er teas or Oolongs from China and Taiwan. He emphasizes the notions of terroirs and harvests: first flush, second flush, early teas.... and grades: OP, FOP, BOP... underlining the gustatory differences of a tea of the same origin. Its expertise, exceptional nose and rigorous selection process delight a circle of connoisseurs, but consumers are still reluctant to expand their range of flavors.
THE RISE OF FLAVORED TEAS
In the early 1970s, the range of teas remained almost unchanged: for almost a century, it was difficult to escape from breakfast tea, Lapsang Souchong, Earl Grey and Ceylon. Consumers rightly consider the tea ranges to be sad and lacking in dynamism. The elitist image of tea was maintained until the arrival of a new product, which revolutionized the world of tea: flavored teas. Lemon, orange, blackcurrant, apple: new tastes seduced the young generation and attracted new consumers: it was an immediate success!
In 1978, Olivier Scala joined the company. He quickly understood that the company's growth could be achieved through flavored teas and convinced his father Raymond Scala to invest in this field. He developed the George Cannon range of flavored teas himself, using natural flavors and quality teas that are mild, not too bitter, and flattering to the palate, respecting the alchemy and balance between tea and flavor.
In the 1980s, specialized tea houses developed, were reborn or appeared. The arrival of wholesaler-importers choosing to have their own storefront and developing their own brand could have signed the end of George Cannon's Establishments, at a time when no counter dedicated to tea alone was viable without the support of a parent company or importer.
But if George Cannon increases its reputation and strengthens its image in the professional world, offering its products to the most modest as well as the most prestigious houses, it remains completely unknown to the general public. To enhance his offer, Olivier Scala imposes his style: development of a unique range of teas, with more than five hundred references of high quality original teas, and as many for flavored teas.
GEORGE CANNON, A COMMITTED BRAND
In 2006, Augustin Scala joined the company and trained with his father Olivier Scala in tasting and purchasing, thus perpetuating the family heritage. With an exceptional nose, he easily juggles flavors, scents and origins.
During this period, the company's image became clearer and more modern: creation of a logo, launch of a range under the George Cannon brand. The logical outcome was the opening of a sales outlet on rue Notre Dame des Champs near Montparnasse in Paris, a showcase for the company and a point of reference and support for retail customers and consumers.
At the same time, and in order to meet the ever-increasing demand, the company is developing, with the same rigorous selection and quality standards, the sale of teas from organic farming (teas from great origins, flavored blends, infusions...). This strong commitment continues to develop today and the offer of certified organic teas continues to increase at George Cannon (loose teas, bags, refills, boxes of teas...).
In 2014, Augustin Scala, already a purchasing manager, became the general manager of George Cannon, which can boast no less than 200 teas packaged under its name (tins, sachets, doypacks) and just as many derivative products (bags, presentation boxes, tea bags...).
It is in 2018 that he becomes President of George Cannon and launches its new 100% organic collections, marking his desire to make George Cannon, the premium 100% organic tea brand.
The company now employs more than 20 employees and markets 250 tons of tea.
AUGUSTIN SCALA, HIS BACKGROUND
Coming from a family of tea importers for 6 generations, Augustin Scala is today President of the family business George Cannon.
The youngest of three children, Augustin Scala is passionate about tea and its history. In 2006, he decided to join his mother, father and sister Mathilde in the family business. He began by learning the techniques of tasting and selecting teas with his father Olivier Scala, as he had done before with his own father. Numerous trips and long hours of tasting have allowed him to acquire his expertise in tea. He also works on the flavoring of teas in the company's French laboratory and is behind many of George Cannon's signature scented creations, including the latest Festival d'Automne, launching in September 2019. His arrival signals the creation of the George Cannon brand and the opening of a boutique under his own name on rue Notre Dame des Champs in Paris.
AUGUSTIN SCALA'S ORGANIC TEA AND INFUSION COLLECTIONS
In 2018, Augustin Scala is launching its 100% ORGANIC tea and infusion collections. He continues to develop the purchase of organic teas with the same rigorous selection and quality, marking his desire to make George Cannon, the top of the range French brand 100% Organic.
All the collections are elaborated and manufactured in the workshops located in the Paris region.
The collection CRU D'EXCEPTION gathers the most beautiful discoveries of Augustin Scala, with unforgettable flavors.
The PURE ORIGIN collection offers a selection of the best gardens of each origin.
The CREATION PARFUMEE collection is made up of the brand's historical best-selling creations created over the generations, now available in an organic version by Augustin Scala. It is associated with the HORS-SERIE collection and its creations imagined over the seasons or according to cultural inspirations.
The INFUSION collection with recipes combining taste and originality, associated with the virtues of infusion.
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