Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Berry Bros. & Rudd – Wine Supplier to the Royals (And a Wine Resource for the Rest of Us)

A couple of weeks ago, I reported that for the first time, the UK was allowing the public auction of some very sought after wines from the Government's Hospitality Wine Cellar. 

But where does the UK government go to purchase its wines and spirits for special events?

In London, it would be Berry Bros. & Rudd, a merchant that sells wine and spirits from around the world.  The shop opened in 1698 and continues to operate from the same location today.

Berry Bros. & Rudd (BB&R) has supplied wine and spirits to the Royal Family since King George III’s reign in the 1700’s.  King George III was one of the first monarchs to grant a Royal Warrant of Appointment, and he granted it to his favorite spirit shop, Berry Bros & Rudd.  BB&R has also received such grants from Queen Elizabeth in 1995, and Prince Charles followed suit in 1998.

A Royal Warrant of Appointment signifies that a certain business supplies products or services to the Royal Family.  By advertising this fact, it lends prestige to the company or supplier, and indicates that their products are of high quality.  The designated supplier will usually display the coat of arms of the royal personage issuing the royal warrant on the company’s letterhead, website, and products. A Royal Warrant of Appointment does not mean that the products or services have been provided free of charge, simply that the Royal Family uses them.

In the UK, only three members of the royal family can currently make such designations.  They are Queen Elizabeth, the Duke of Windsor, and Prince Charles.

Not only does Berry Bros. & Rudd supply wine and spirits to the royals, the company also produces wines and spirits under its name.  In 1923, BB&R released Cutty Sark Scotch Whisky.  The actual crafting and blending was done at the Glenrothes distillery in Scotland.  The brand now includes various blends and premium aged blends.

BB&R also offers their line of ‘Berrys' Own Selection’ whiskies, spirits and wine.  In 1909, Berry’s was one of the earliest independent bottlers to offer fine liquors under their own label. A tradition that they continue today.

In 1994, Berry Bros. & Rudd was the first wine merchant to build an online web store for their products.  Besides selling alcohol, they also hold a wide selection of events including wine dinners, wine luncheons, wine tastings, and wine school classes.

If you are interested in collecting fine wines, BB&R can offer you several cellar plans that can be added to each month for a specified amount, beginning with £100 ($151).

The company also has several wine club options, offers storage facilities for fine wines in their bonded warehouses, and provides wine market reports and investment information if you’re interested in learning more about wine investing.

In fact, the company now offers a wine trading exchange online at BBX, Berrys' Broking Exchange Buyers may purchase wines at the selling price offered or place an offer bid. BB&R calls it a “fine wine broking service that enables customers to sell, and buy, privately stored wines in Berrys’ UK bonded warehouse.”

While Berry Bros. & Rudd has the distinction of providing wine and spirits to the Royal Family for over 300 years, they have also made sure that the rest of us will find a reason to return to their shop, or their web site, again and again.  And that is truly worth a king’s ransom.

~ Joy