I was recently invited to a very special dinner at Berry Bros. & Rudd. And for those of you who are already familiar with this extraordinary company, you’ll understand why I RSVP’d immediately and cancelled all other plans. For those of you who haven’t yet come across this London gem, allow me to introduce…
Their story reads much like a fairytale…In 1698, the company now known as Berry Bros. & Rudd was started by a woman. She was a widow and a mother, with at least two daughters, but only her last name is known: Bourne. She established a grocer’s in the prestigious neighbourhood opposite St. James’s Palace, which in that year became the official principal residence of the monarch…
Today, Berry Bros. & Rudd is extremely proud of its past, and you can understand why. The company’s colourful history encompasses wines on board the Titanic, supplying smugglers running alcohol into Prohibition-era America, and sheltering Napoleon III in cellars beneath the shop! Over three centuries after its original opening, Berry Bros. & Rudd continue to supply wines and spirits to royalty, have a successful presence in Asia, and lead the world of wine with a philosophy of constant innovation. It now has two Royal Warrants and seven Masters of Wine – the family business is booming.
The dinner I attended was in their General Office Dining Room, which was a treat in itself – to have a proper nosy behind the scenes of such a historic building was such a privilege. We were joined by Deputy Chairman Lizzy Rudd, and 8th Generation Berry family member, Geordie Willis who is also the company’s creative director – it was fascinating to chat to both Lizzy and Geordie, who are both taking great care in keeping the company fresh, modern and progressive, while respecting and celebrating its history and tradition. And they’re totally nailing it.
One significant way they’ve embraced newness is by opening up a brand spanking new shop at 63 Pall Mall, just around the corner from their historic home at No.3. This new space offers an extraordinary range of wines and spirits, from £10 to £10,000 (if you should be so inclined) a bottle, and each one – of course – comes with the same world-class service and advice that you expect of them…
The space itself is beautiful and bright, with stunning and thoughtful details, including wooden wine barrels on the ceiling, a gorgeous wooden floor and bottles of wine, twinkling like jewels, from floor to ceiling everywhere you look.
They also have three amazing Enomatic machines, which offer the chance to taste a range of their wines, without having to invest in an entire bottle. Each wine stays preserved, so the wine is perfectly fresh every time. Their machines provide a rotating selection of 24 different wines, from £1 to £7.50 for a 25ml sample and you can see this month’s selection here.
Geordie showed us around the shop before we went back upstairs for bubbles and dinner, which was cooked by their rather fabulous in house chef, Stewart Turner. The meal was absolutely delicious – we all loved it.
Thank you so much for having me Berry Bros. & Rudd. What a fabulous evening it was… here’s to the next 300 years.
I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
Berry Bros. & Rudd
3 St James’s Street, London
I was a guest of Beer Bros.& Rudd and all thoughts & opinions are my own.