In 1923, the owners of a famous London wine merchants sat round a table to discuss Scotch whisky.
Berry Brothers & Rudd along with Scottish artist James McBey introduced Cutty Sark to the world as a blended whisky without colourant. This innovation allowed one of the most famous blends to go undetected by customs officers during prohibition in the United States; the spirit’s pale appearance allowed it to be confused with a simple cup of tea.
By the 1970s, Cutty Sark was the biggest selling brand of spirit in the world; the colossal American market began to decline leading to Cutty Sark being sold in over 150 countries.
Today, BB&R still occupies its historical townhouse at 3, St. James’s Street, London. The building hasn’t changed much since the wine merchants opened their doors in 1698. The company is now an international affair with shops in Dublin, Hong Kong and Japan.
BB&R is predominantly a purveyor of fine wines and an educator with the launch of its wine school in 2000. However, ‘Berry’s Own Selections’ have received accolades for the quality of their single malt whisky, winning the Independent Bottler of the Year Award in 2010 and 2011 at the Icons of Whisky awards. The company has been providing their own selection of coveted single malts for over a century, making them one of the earliest indy bottlers.
Whisky enthusiasts have the chance to visit the ‘Spirit Room’ located at 3, St. James’s; this treasure trove boasts yet more premium and rare whiskies exclusive to Berry Bros. In addition to its opulent London flagship store, BB&R has an excellent website detailing their many international events and their salubrious inventory of fine wines and spirits.
image: © The Food & Drink Innovation Network