The Story So Far
In 1976 two young men with two new sports cars and two thousand pounds came together in a fusion of entrepreneurial energy to form Stevens Garnier.
One half of the partnership, Edward Garnier, didn’t stay long, but the other, Alastair Stevens certainly did. Over the next 32 years he was both the engine and the engaging figurehead of the company until his retirement in 2008. Jane Cranston, the first recruit as "Girl Friday", still remains a key figure in the business (now Finacial Director), shortly followed by the evergreen Johnny Powell. .
Inside this small but perfectly formed team was a big company waiting to get out – and it still is. Ahead of time they realised that big was cumbersome, structured and slow, big had committees! Small though was intimate, flexible, dynamic and creative.
What followed were ground breaking imports from Argentina, Chile, Australia and Canada in the early eighties, which not only raised eyebrows amongst the traditionalists but established a reputation for being that little bit adventurous.
As for innovation, Stevens Garnier were amongst the first to bring Bag in Box wines to the UK and, although more common place today, one of the first to form a winery/agency joint venture when Sogrape of Portugal took a stake in the company in 1986 – a relationship which continues successfully to this day as Stevens Garnier is now part of the Sogrape global family.
Underpinning all of this though, from the outset, was a simple idea. Stevens Garnier was never a company that merely bought and sold wine. In a world in which the gap between producer and customer is often too wide, the Stevens Garnier role is to create a tightly knit family unit in which the two can be brought as close together as possible for the benefit of all.
Of course the modern day SG has grown. We are by no means large but in spite of that, we’d say because of that, we are now a major supplier to the UK wine trade. At its core, Stevens Garnier remains a small company with big ideas.