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A.1. sauce was marketed as a steak sauce in the United States since the early 1960s, for use as a condiment with meat or game dishes. A.1. announced in May 2014 it was dropping the "steak" from its name, to "reflect modern dining habits". A.1. was originally developed, produced, and marketed in the United Kingdom as a brand in 1831 and was officially registered as a trademark in the U.S. in 1895, and was later imported and distributed in the United States by G.F. Heublein & Bros in 1906. Although the sauce is widely available in the U.S. and Canada, in the UK, its country of origin, it is currently only sold by Tesco and Ocado.
The original sauce upon which A.1. is based was created in 1824 by Henderson William Brand, a chef to King George IV of the United Kingdom. A popular myth has it that the king declared it "A.1." and the name was born. It went into commercial production under the Brand & Co. label in 1831, marketed as a condiment for "fish, meat and fowl", and continued production under this label after bankruptcy forced ownership of Brand & Co. to be transferred to W.H. Withall in 1850. It was renamed A.1. in 1873, after a trademark dispute between creator Henderson William Brand and Dence & Mason, who had since purchased Brand & Co. from Withall. It continued to be produced by Brand & Co. until the late 1950s at the firm's factory in Vauxhall, London. It was introduced to the United States in 1906 and distributed by G.F. Heublein & Brothers and later in the early 1960s marketed as "A.1 steak sauce". In 1931, A.1. was introduced to Canada.
In 2000, the A.1. line of marinades was launched, representing the first expansion of the trademark.
Rock musician and singer Meat Loaf has appeared in a TV commercial for the product, to promote its new slogan: "A.1.—Makes beef sing." In the commercial, the slogan is "Makes Meat Loaf sing", and he sings a very short excerpt from his hit song "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)".
The US recipe differs from the original sauce by its exclusion and substition of malt vinegar and molasses.
A.1. was the subject of a trademark dispute between then-owners RJR Nabisco and "Arnie’s Deli", which was producing its own recipe condiment under the name "A2 Sauce". In 1991, the United States District Court of Connecticut found in favor of Nabisco.
Some slogans for A.1. include: