United Rum Merchants Limited
United Rum Merchants traces its history back to Mr. Lemon Hart who opened his wine and spirit business from cellars in Penzance, Cornwall in 1804. Lemon Hart was appointed the first victualler of rum to the Royal Navy. The brand bearing his name has been popular for the better part of two centuries and is still a market leader for URM today.
The rums Harts supplied to the Navy were from Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados and Demerara (Guyana); the same sources we rely on in the 1980’s.
In 1830, two Scottish brothers, Charles and Joseph Dingwall, started a wine and spirit business in London. That progressed directly to become URM. In 1840 Richard and Bernard Portal joined the Dingwall brothers to form the expanded Portal, Dingwall & Co. In 1849 young Alfred Lamb opened a wine spirit business in London, ageing casks in cool cellars beneath the Thames and producing traditional dark rum. His name figured prominently in making URM a major force in the spirits industry a century later.
Henry White is another name that eventually figured in the founding of URM. In 1888, he registered the brand red Heart rum and in 1981 was honoured by becoming Master of the Vintners Company.
About the same time, the Lemon Hart was being handled by Norris & Gilbey, but in 1892, Arthur Norris left the company, bringing the Lemon Hart brand with him to join Portal and Dingwall – hence Portal, Dingwall & Norris.
The Depression brought many changes in industry. In 1932 Portal, Dingwall & Norris bought out Thomas Lowndes Rum Merchants. Then in 1939 they acquired C W Eves Rum Merchants.
World War II was a severe test for the British rum market and other spirits as well. For the first time in history, British gin producers were forced to rely on sugar spirit rather than grain spirit.
In 1941, Portal, Dingwall & Norris made an important policy decision in selling off their whisky interests. Then the violence of the war made an impact and created an opportunity, though it probably did not seem that way at the time.
On the 10th and 11th May 1941, Alfred Lamb & Son were bombed out of their London permission on Great Tower Street, White, Keeling Rum Merchants were also bombed out of theirs during the Blitz that summer. Portal, Dingwall & Norris took them both into their premises at 40 Eastcheap, London.
URM was founded in 1946, when three old blending and broking firms - Alfred Lamb, (whose eponymous blend was created in 1865), Whyte Keeling, and Portal Dingwall & Norris - merged. A year later, it became part of sugar gigant Booker and was amalgamated into Allied-Domecq in the early 1990s.
Allied Breweries acquired numerous other companies including Wm Teacher and Sons Limited in 1976, United Rum Merchants Limited in 1984, and the Canadian group Hiram Walker-Gooderham and Worts Limited in 1984, which made Allied Breweries the leading international wines and spirits producer and distributor. This position was reinforced by the acquisition of James Burroughs Distillers in 1989 and the buy-out of Whitbread's 50 per cent holding in the companies joint venture company, European Cellars (Holdings) Limited.
Here are full texts from the labels
uk_33: Santigo Light Rum; 70° Proof; Produce of Guyana; United Rum Merchants Ltd., 97 Tooley Street, London SE1
uk_34: Light Light Rum; 70° Proof; Blended by United Rum Merchants Ltd., London SE1
uk_30: Lemon Hart; Golden Jamaica Rum; 70° Proof; United Rum Merchants Ltd., 97 Tooley Street, London SE1
uk101: 70° Proof; Lemon Hart; Produce of Jamaica British West Indies; United Rum Merchants Ltd., London E.C.3; Golden Jamaica Rum
uk290: Imported; Santigo; Dry White Rum; Produce of Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad; 750 ml e; 40% vol; United Rum Merchants LTD, 97 Tooley Street, London, England
uk_229: Produce of British Guyana; Lamb's Demerara Navy Rum; 70° Proof; Blended and bottled by United Rum Merchants LTD, London;; URM
uk383: Produce of Guyana; Lamb's Demerara Navy Rum; 70° Proof; 6 2/3 fl.ozs; United Rum Merchants Limited, Tooley St, London SE1; URM; AL/HT/QA
uk55: Lamb's Navy Rum; 1.5 litres e; 40% vol; Produce of Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad; United Rum Merchants Limited, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1ST
uk124: Fine Jamaican Rum; A Product of Jamaica; Alfred Lamb's Pale Gold; Imported;Smooth Mellow Rum; A Classic Rum selected from the finest Jamaicans distillates and matured in white oak casks; Est 1849; 40% vol; 50 ml e; United Rum Merchants Limited, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1ST
uk289: United Rum Merchants Ltd, Tooley St, London SE1; Red Heart; Imported Blended Jamaica Rum; Produce of Jamaica
uk_19: United Rum Merchants Ltd, Tooley St, London; Red Heart; B125; Contents 50 ml; Strench 43% by vol; Imported blended rum; Produce of Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad
uk118: Red Heart; Imported Blended Rum; 750 ml; 43% vol; Produce of Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad; Bottled in the Republic of South AfricaLamb's Navy Rum; 1.5 litres e; 40% vol; Produce of Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad; United Rum Merchants Limited, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1ST
uk_35: Blended by United Rum Merchants Ltd., Tooley st, London SE1; Black Heart Rum; Produce of Guyana and Trinidad; 70° Proof; Bottled in Scotland
uk_8: United Rum Merchants; Special Consignment; Puncheon; Alfred Lamb's Special Reserve Rum; Limited Edition; Dumbarton; Date of Distillation: 22/6/39; Country of origin: Jamaica; 40% alc/vol; 75 cl
uk_28: Lemon Hart; Golden Jamaica Rum; 70° Proof; 40% alc/vol; United Rum Merchants Ltd, 97 Tooley St., London SE1
uk_29: Lemon Hart; Superior Rum; Produce of Barbados, Caymans, Jamaica and Trinidad; 50 ml; 37.5% alc/vol; United Rum Merchants Ltd., Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1ST
uk_87: Lemon Hart Golden Jamaica Rum; 70 Proof, 40% alc/vol; United Rum Merchants Ltd, 97 Tooley St, London SE1
uk_32: Produce of British Guiana; Daiquiri Rum; 70° Proof; Produced, Blended and Bottled by United Rum Merchants Ltd.
uk331: Tia Maria; The Jamaican liqueur made from the spirit of sugar cane and various essences, notably that of the Blue Mountain coffe, specially blended after a formula closely guaranted for over two hundred years; Imported and Marketed in the U.K. by United Rum Merchants LTD, Battlebridge House, 97 Tooley street, London, SE1; 55° Proof; Contents not less than 13 fl. ozs.
uk~14: Imported; Established 1849; Superior quality; Red Heart; Special Reserve Blended Rum; A Blend of Fine Aged Rum from Jamaica; Produce of Jamaica, bottled in the United Kingdom; 750 ml; 43% vol