Berry Bros. & Rudd then and now: Christmas


Christmas at 63 Pall Mall.

As we celebrate our 325th anniversary this year, we’ve been looking at what has changed in those three centuries. Examining various parts of our business, we explore how things are different now and what we might see in the future. In the final part of this series, Edwin Dublin, Manager of our London Shop takes us behind the scenes of Christmas at Berry Bros. & Rudd.

I have worked at Berry Bros. & Rudd for over 18 years, latterly as Manager of our London Shop. It is a fascinating privilege to be part of and observe how Christmas in the shop has changed over the years but somehow remained the same. No matter how frenetic it gets, we strive to provide the best service possible to those who come through our doors.

Each year, our regular customers come to make their annual, special purchases for Christmas – whether for themselves or as gifts for colleagues, friends or family to enjoy over the festive season, or to lay down for future Christmases. We also have many customers, some even from overseas, who make a pilgrimage here only once a year for their Christmas bottles, knowing we will guide them to just the right thing. Seeing these familiar faces acts as a festive bookmark for me – “Ah, Mr X is here, Christmas has now begun”.

Christmas is all about traditions and we have plenty in our London Shop. Colleagues from across the company have, for many years, descended to help us restock shelves, prepare collection orders and advise customers. In more recent years, they have also served mince pies made by our in-house chefs with The King’s Ginger. We will be serving these again this year and hope you will join us.

Christmas is a very busy time and I have memories of customers queueing out of the door in previous years. Our Christmas tree adds yet more Dickensian magic to the shop, often with bags of The King’s Ginger bottles underneath, ready-wrapped to speed up time at the tills.

In our smaller, former shop space around the corner at No.3 St James’s Street, with fewer bottles on display, shop staff could be seen speeding up and down the stairs (careful on that narrow staircase!) and through the cellars in search of bottles for customers. Thankfully, they didn’t have to run the whole two acres of our cellars. There was perhaps enough time to sneak in a Quality Street or similar confectionery for sustenance as they passed the Cellar Office. While we have more space in our shop at 63 Pall Mall, our forays to the cellars are still made today.

Amid this bustle, the London Shop team has long gathered after hours for a little downtime. The penultimate Saturday before Christmas is Secret Santa time. We share thoughts from the day’s business, often paired with bottles from our own collective cellars. We’ll gather again on Christmas Eve, or the last trading day before Christmas, for a final glass of something before we head our separate ways for the holiday.

Over 325 years, Berry Bros. & Rudd has traded through some tumultuous times, but we have never let this dim the magic of Christmas. Helping our customers source the right bottles for themselves, family or friends is something I’m sure we’ll continue to do for a long time to come.