Abram Lyle, a successful Scottish businessman set about constructing a sugar refinery on the banks of the river Thames with his three sons. The company became known as Abram Lyle & Sons. And so began the story of one of the world’s oldest and best loved brands.
From working in the sugar business, Lyle noticed that the sugar cane refining process produces a treacly sort of syrup, which could be further refined. The result was a delicious preserve and sweetener for cooking. He started selling small quantities of “Goldie” from wooden casks to his employees and local customers.
Word spread quickly that the syrup was delicious and soon Lyle was selling a tonne a week! He replaced the wooden casks with “Lyle's Golden Syrup” dispensers, and they soon began to appear on the shelves of grocery stores all over London. It was only a matter of months before the tin, as we know it today, started to be used.
The “lion and bees” tin was registered as Lyle’s trademark. The design comes from Abram Lyle’s religious beliefs: it’s a reference to a story in the Old Testament, in which Samson killed a lion, then saw that bees had formed a honeycomb in the lion’s carcass. The bible references Samson’s words that also feature on the tin “Out of the strong came forth sweetness”. The logo and design remain unchanged today.
During World War 1, metal was in desperately short supply, as all available material was being used for the war effort. So for the duration of the War, the “tin” was made from thick cardboard – the first big change to the packaging in nearly 30 years of production!
In 1921, the descendents of Henry Tate & Sons and Abram Lyle & Sons merged the two businesses into one company: Tate & Lyle was born. Henry Tate and Abram Lyle probably never met, despite operating refineries less than two miles apart in East London.
Golden Syrup became so popular that Lyle’s even supplied it to the King of England! As a result they were entitled to include a “Royal Warrant” on the tin – a symbol to show that Lyle’s was an official supplier to the Royal Family. The Warrant has proudly remained there ever since.
Lyle’s Black Treacle was launched, with its stronger flavour and darker colour. It, too, has become a cooking essential in UK households, and an indispensable ingredient to classic recipes like Christmas cake and treacle toffee. (Although, strangely, treacle tart is made with Golden Syrup!)
For the first time, Lyle’s started producing Golden Syrup in “easy to pour” bottles. This more convenient bottle means that it’s now much easier to put Lyle's Golden Syrup on your pancakes, your morning porridge – or drizzled over your favourite dessert!
Lyle’s launched their range of Squeezy Syrups. They’re perfect for topping ice cream, fruit and other desserts. The range is available in Strawberry, Chocolate, Toffee and
Lyle’s distinctive packaging has hardly changed since 1885 and was confirmed by The Guinness World Records as the world's oldest brand. The famous Lyle's Golden Syrup tin is a familiar sight in British kitchens.
In 2008, we celebrated 125 years in business.
To commemorate this historic milestone, we created seven special edition golden tins.
We also developed a Lyle’s Golden Syrup
More than a million tins leave our factory on the banks of the River Thames every month and people all over the world keep Lyle's Golden Syrup in their cupboards – from the UK to China, South Africa to Australia, and the USA to