Founded over three hundred years ago in the heart of London, Berry Bros. & Rudd is Britain’s oldest wine and spirits merchant. The family owners have a distinct perspective on business, working in a way that respects the past while looking ahead and protecting the company for the next generation and beyond. This has meant remaining at the forefront of progress, from becoming the first independent wine merchant to open up an online shop, to expanding overseas. Today, the company, which is overseen by Chair Lizzy Rudd, has international offices in Singapore, Hong Kong and the USA, as well as exclusive fine wine events spaces in London’s St James’s. It also holds two Royal Warrants for HM The Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales.
Over the last three centuries, Berry Bros. & Rudd has continually adapted and evolved to ensure its notable success – something that has never been more necessary than during the pandemic. Able to draw on strong relationships with producers, partners, colleagues and customers, the business implemented changes across all its services. These included the introduction of at-home virtual tastings – featuring the delivery of fine wine, glassware and everything else needed for the experience – plus hosting events and webinars with producers and experts over Zoom to ensure that the wine community still had access to the company’s knowledge. It also launched an ‘At Home’ service of chef-prepared meals with accompanied bottles selected by three in-house Masters of Wine.
Berry Bros. & Rudd is a company built on relationships, and it’s the quality of these that has seen it become the go-to establishment for fine wine and spirit collectors globally. The buyers work in the most important wine regions, building an outstanding portfolio of producer partners and direct contacts with some of the best winemakers in the world. Some are long-established stalwarts of the industry; others represent the most exciting rising star talents. These include Château Les Carmes Haut Brion, which was singled out by Bordeaux buyer Max Lalondrelle. Max supported the estate, helping it to build its reputation; as a result, Berry Bros. & Rudd’s customers have access to this hugely desirable wine. Another example is Leclerc-Briant, a trailblazing champagne producer focusing on organic and biodynamic viticulture. Leclerc-Briant’s emphasis on sustainability is closely aligned with the wine merchant’s own environmental ambitions.
With the future in mind, some of the most important decisions the company faces are around how to reduce its impact on the planet – which is why the business has a goal of being net carbon zero and plastic free by 2030. A new state-of-the-art warehouse, set to open in the summer, will be carbon neutral by 2025, and it is introducing a cork recycling initiative. The business also recently launched its first ‘capsule free’ wine bottle, the 2019 Own Selection Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This removes unnecessary packaging and reduces carbon emissions – ideal for wines that will be consumed shortly after purchase (capsules protect the wine for longer).
But the company’s mission to lessen its impact and promote best practice in the industry doesn’t stop there. It is working closely with its producers to highlight the excellent work they are doing to reduce their impact, support biodiversity and work more sustainably. This is bound to resonate with the company’s huge and loyal customer base, who rely on it for expertise in building fine wine collections that will bring them pleasure for years to come.