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Justerini & Brooks celebrates 275 years with a new boutique and tasting rooms in London

Fine wine merchant Justerini & Brooks is opening a boutique retail outlet and tasting rooms in London, which is says offers an opportunity to showcase itself better, and to offer open access to customer to buy and taste some of the world’s finest wines and whiskies by the glass.

Coming as the merchant celebrates its 275th anniversary, the new boutique lies at 41 Burlington Arcade, the historic arcade close to its St James’s Street headquarters ,which is undergoing a major refurbishment since September. The new premises comprises a boutique retail outlet on the ground floor of the arcade,  with a tasting lounge upstairs where customers can taste a selection of Justerini & Brooks’ fine wines by the glass, under the Coravin system. There is also a relaxing whisky tasting room in the basement.

The move will allow its clientele to discover some of its exceptional wines and whiskies, the merchant said, both to drink on site and take home or be delivered.

Speaking to the drinks business, buying director Giles Burke-Gaffney said that the merchant had been “a bit guilty of being a closed shop” in recent years, but that the refurbishment of the St James’s property, and being offered the premises in Burlington Arcade had presented an opportunity to do things a bit differently.

“We were thinking about having a place to host events in the meantime, but this opportunity presented itself,” he explained. “And we thought, why don’t we use it as an opportunity to open up and get people in and spread the word, do something different. So the idea is that people can come in and buy wine and whiskey  also try wine and whisky.”

“It is an exciting proposition, and we would like it to be a long-term thing, but it went from being a temporary idea, to trialling something different,” he said. “It is a new departure for us, we’ve had retail [space] before, but we will see how it goes.”

The intention is to offer a selection to wines that reflect Justerini & Brookes’s wider portfolio, including wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy and Piedmont, which it is well-known for, along with more recent wines Oregon and South Africa. Price-wise, bottles will retail from £50-£5,000, with a rotating selection of wines to pour by the glass or bottle, for which customers will pay a flat corkage fee.

“There will be some interesting things – with a nod to our strength –  we like to give people a cross section, not just what they think. But it will be a dynamic list that will keep rotation on a monthly basis, keep it dynamic by season,  depending on the offers. “And we would like to pull up a bottle or few from library stocks and let people know we will open those on a particular day or have just have it in in store for a limited period,” he said.

In addition, the whisky tasting room will offer a selection of whiskies.

“Being part of Diageo, we have access to some really quite rare, single malt bottling,” Burke-Gaffney explained. “So, the big exciting one at the moment is Port Ellen, which is reopening in Islay. What is exciting for us is this is where we’re going to step into the whisky bit – we will have a display with the new Port Ellen, which is the oldest bottling so far.”

The team’s passion “lies in our diverse selection”, Burke-Gaffney added, and the team take pride in showcasing a carefully-chosen selection of wines that are  at their peak and available for immediate enjoyment, as well as those with huge potential to drink in the future.

“Whether you seek a singular taste or a full case, our boutique boasts a  plethora of extraordinary, rare wines from renowned vineyards worldwide,” he said.

Tod Bradbury, private client director – whiskies at Justerini & Brooks said said that the opening of the company’s first boutique and tasting rooms at Burlington Arcade was  a momentous occasion for Justerini & Brooks”, especially as it celebrated its 275th anniversary.

“Complementing our St James’s Street home, No. 41 will offer visitors a first-hand glimpse of our outstanding portfolio and professional advice from our dedicated staff,” he said.

The covered space of Burlington Arcade provides a unique but retail experience within a historical 205 year old property, the company added in a statement, “and the addition of Justerini & Brooks within the arcade will provide a meeting place for curious minds and industry experts to gather and exchange ideas and stories over some of the world’s best wine and spirits as well as a new immersive retail experience.”

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