Merrill J. Fernando dedicated his life to tea when in the 1950s, he saw the concentration of ownership in the tea industry in the hands of a few large corporations. This was leading to the commoditisation of tea. He decided that in the interest of tea drinkers around the world, and the crop that his country produced with so much care and artistry, he would fight this process of commoditisation.
It took him nearly four decades and in 1988 he launched his own brand – Dilmah. Dilmah was the first producer owned tea brand, and offered tea ‘picked, perfected and packed’ at origin. Unlike the multi-origin blends that monopolised supermarket shelves, Dilmah brought tea that is freshly packed at source and therefore rich in flavour and natural goodness.
Dilmah is unique; a brand that is founded on a passionate commitment to quality and authenticity in tea, it is also a part of a philosophy that goes beyond commerce in seeing business as a matter of human service. This is what makes Dilmah the first ethically produced tea. In 2005, Merrill and his sons Dilhan and Malik, pledged to follow the principles dictated by the 12 Principles of Dilmah in every aspect of their business and in the conduct of their workers, staff and management.