Retail Insider held its final event of the year with Dan Jago, CEO of Berry Bros & Rudd, who provided some great insights and anecdotes from his rich career in wine and spirits as guests enjoyed various courses of food matched with wines from the company’s extensive cellars.

Senior executives from Hotel Chocolat, Fortnum & Mason, Rapha, John Lewis, Tesco, White Stuff and Fenwick’s were among those gathered in the Berry Bros & Rudd Sussex Cellar to hear how Jago moved from being the world’s biggest buyer of wine while at Tesco to currently running one the world’s most venerable wine merchants.

Both roles have involved him attempting to democratise wine to the point where it becomes a much more approachable product for a wider audience. He told the story of joining the business in October 2015 as the first non-family person to run the company since it was created in 1698. This came with its challenges but he has made tremendous strides at turning around the business that had been racking up losses.

Among the changes have been the implementation of a new underlying technology infrastructure, the bringing together of the different departments in the business that were largely being run separately, the ramping up of the number of wine tasting events and dinners at the St James’s building’s cellars, and the opening of a new retail unit on the premises.

He acknowledged that there was still plenty to do, especially with driving a more omni-channel approach that makes Berry Bros more accessible through the various channels, as well as building its overseas business, although he stated that this will not include opening any physical stores.

Another area of growth is the Berry Bros & Rudd own-label range that presently encompasses over 50 products. Guests at the event enjoyed tastings of the company’s Champagne Grand Cru by Mailly, Gruner Veltliner Weingeberge Federspiel Nokolaihof, Santa Barbara Pinot Noir by Au Bon Climat, and Takaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos by Oremus.

Retail Insider would very much like to thank Dan Jago and the team at Berry Bros & Rudd events for making the evening such a success. And also it is a thank-you for the much appreciated support of the event’s sponsors – Womble Bond Dickinson, Bamboo Rose, K3 and Speakap. Without their involvement this event would not have been possible.

Glynn Davis, editor of Retail Insider