The History of Justerini & Brooks

Since 1749

Justerini & Brooks was founded in 1749 and very quickly gained a reputation for both quality and service, one that has been maintained ever since. First awarded the Royal Warrant by King George III in 1761, we are proud to have been granted this honour by every successive monarch since, including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

We also received the Royal Warrant from Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. In addition our past Managing Director, Geoffrey Jameson, held the office of Clerk of the Royal Cellars from 1963 to 1978 and in July 1992 this personal appointment of Her Majesty the Queen was taken up by Edward Demery, our then Chairman, until his retirement in December 2007. Our current Chairman Hew Blair now sits on the Buckingham Palace Wine Committee.

Justerini & Brooks has offices in St James’s Street, London, Edinburgh and Hong Kong. They supply wines and spirits to an exclusive list of private clients and restaurants. Their portfolio includes some of the best known estates from France, Italy and Germany, including: Domaine du Comte Liger Belair, Pétrus, Chateau Lafleur, Roberto Voerzio and JJ Prüm. They are amongst the largest importers of domaine bottled Burgundy, Barolo and Riesling in the UK.

The History of Justerini & Brooks

The firm's founder, Giacomo Justerini, arrived in London from Bologna in 1749 in pursuit, not of his fortune, but of a beautiful opera singer, Margherita Bellino, with whom he had fallen in love.

Though his pursuit of love was unrequited, he must have been comforted by his fortunes which prospered greatly; so that by 1760 he was able to sell the firm to George Johnson and retire to Italy. Throughout the difficult days of the London riots of 1780 and the Napoleonic Wars, George Johnson and later his son and grandson managed the firm with considerable skill, until in 1830 it was sold to Alfred Brooks, a young man doubly blessed by wealth and good connections. He added his name to that of Justerini and built up a discerning and knowledgeable clientele, amongst them Charles Dickens whose bills, still in our possession today, reflect his growing success as an author and his increasing enthusiasm for our wines.

Throughout the rest of the Century markets expanded rapidly both at home and abroad, and during this period there came about an increasing taste for blended Scotch Whisky. From this was born J&B Rare, our own "house" whisky, which has taken the name of Justerini & Brooks across the world. Ironically it was Prohibition - or rather its repeal - which gave J&B its major success on the export market, as it was one of the first whiskies to be launched on the vast and thirsty American market in 1933. Since then sales of J&B Rare have grown rapidly and it is now the world's second largest selling Scotch whisky and has gained no less than 5 Queen's Awards for Export Achievement.

For over 260 years the company has built up an unrivalled reputation, both for the quality of our wines and the standard of service offered to customers all over the world.

Justerini & Brooks - Royal Warrant