“The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”


Back in 1987, as the newly promoted Marketing Director, I was responsible for replacing the old ‘waistcoat pocket’ Price List with a new, all-singing all-dancing version. To some people, including my father, it was as if I had taken a twelve bore to the ravens in the Tower. The old list was an icon of the business: shamelessly old fashioned in an increasingly modern world. I had to take my father to lunch in his old club to show him that he was the only one there still wearing a waistcoat.

21 years later, I am delighted to announce that we are bringing the style of our old list back for our 2009 Price List. Why? When even my father (now aged 93) has grown accustomed to the new one? Well, in many ways the world has moved on so far that its time has come again.

Ironically enough, it is the emergence of the internet that has revived the old-fashioned Price List. Our website bbr.com continues to win awards and is recognized throughout the world as one of the best sources of information available to the wine buff. Continually updated, with new wines as well as new snippets of information being added several times a day, the website requires a companion printed price list much more flexible and concise than the current model. Something that will give you an overview of the wines we have available for you to buy, but which will encourage you to visit our website to learn more and discover our full range. Something, moreover, that is less wasteful of natural resources in these ecologically conscious days. The more we looked for the perfect answer, the clearer it became that we were describing a wheel already invented: the pocket-sized list.

To celebrate its return, we are also publishing a limited edition reprint of our list from 100 years ago; our 1909 Price List. 1909 really was ‘a foreign country’, to use L.P. Hartley’s famous phrase. The list leads off with Sherry and Port, for example, and ‘pre-expulsion’ Green Chartreuse is over three times more expensive than 1869 Lafite or 1880 Romanée Conti. But even as we gasp at the prices of some of the wines from those days, it is comforting to realise that some good ideas never go away – they just need time for the world to catch up with them again.