Fifty Shades of Grey, the global best-selling novel, has given an unexpected boost to a British tea shop.
Metrodeco, in Brighton, says online sales of its Shades of Grey black tea, have more than quadrupled since the racy novel was released in August 2011.
Accounts just completed by the tea business show it sold more of the earl grey blend in 2012 than in the three previous years put together. 108% higher than in 2011 and 243% higher than in 2010.
Metrodeco's co-founder Helen Taggart said she first noticed a sharp rise in enquiries about the product only a few weeks after the E.L James bestseller was published.
"Our Shades of Grey blend has been on sale since 2009 and it was never our leading product.
"Then along came Fifty Shades of Grey and our earl grey became an overnight best-seller - just like the novel. We've even had orders from overseas.
"I'd like to say the novel piggy-backed on the success of our tea - but, to be honest, it's definitely the other way round. People seem to have found our tea online when searching for information about the book. We're now thinking of bringing out a tea called ‘X Factor' to see if it has the same effect on sales."