Back in 1550, the Hine family lived in Beaminster, Dorset, on the south coast of England. The family’s great cognac journey was to begin in the 18th century: Thomas Hine, the father, a linen merchant — and quite a cognac connoisseur — decided to send his son Thomas (one of eleven children) to France to learn French and the art of making cognac.
Thomas, then aged sixteen, left his family home and headed for France, setting foot in Nantes in 1791, he then travelled to Bordeaux, where he stayed for a while, before continuing to Jarnac, a small town just east of Cognac. Since 1763, Jarnac had been the base for the négociant’s premises where Thomas was to create his father’s favorite cognac. In the early days, Thomas began his employment as a personal assistant, a respected and worthy position. Not long after his arrival, Thomas Hine made the acquaintance of Elisabeth, the daughter of a famous cognac négiociant and fell in love. In 1796, at the age of 21, Thomas married Elisabeth and they were to have four children. Thomas Hine earned a reputation for being a serious, hard worker, but not lacking in a good sense of humour. His in-depth knowledge of finance and business, good commercial sense together with his French and English skills gave him special status. He expanded what was to become the traditional business of the HINE company; making bespoke cognacs for English wine merchants. When his father-in-law died, his mother-in-law chose Thomas — rather than one of her own sons — to take charge of the family cognac business. In 1817, Thomas gave his name to the company: Thomas Hine & Co. Just a few years later, in 1822, he died of pneumonia at the age of 47, thirty years after he first arrived in Jarnac. His eldest son, Thomas Georges, just old enough to take over the reins of the company was to succeed him, thus continuing the extraordinary story of the Hine family and HINE cognac — today with its sixth generation. Today the expertise of the family ancestors continues to live on through Thomas Hine’s direct descendants. Each family member has contributed to the HINE story. Bernard Thomas Hine is the current Hine family member. His renowned cognac creations include Rare, Mariage and Talent. In keeping with the HINE values, he has pursued his passion for single vintage cognacs — which are officially recognized — thus upholding and furthering the great family tradition. In the 1960’s, Bernard Thomas Hine added central Europe to the long, growing list of HINE markets, while continuing to develop HINE’s prestige and reputation across the globe.
Much of the information on this page was obtained directly from the House’s website.