W. and A. Gilbey
Gilbeys of Oxford Street, London.
Producers of Gilbey's Gin.
1856 Walter and Albert Gilbey returned to London after the Crimean war and on the advice of their eldest brother, Henry Gilbey, a wholesale wine-merchant, started in the retail wine and spirit trade, importing South African wines.
1857 Backed by capital obtained through Henry Gilbey, they opened a small retail business in a basement in Oxford Street, London.
The Cape wines proved popular, and within three years the brothers had 20,000 customers on their books. Agents were appointed throughout the UK to sell their wines to grocers shops.
1864 The Gilbeys's business increased so rapidly that, in 1864, Henry Gilbey abandoned his own undertaking to join his brothers.
1867 The three brothers secured the old Pantheon theatre and concert hall in Oxford Street for their headquarters.
1875 The firm purchased a large claret-producing estate in Medoc, on the banks of the Gironde, and became also the proprietors of two large whisky-distilleries in Scotland.
1893 The business was converted, for family reasons, into a private limited liability company, of which Walter Gilbey, who in the same year was created a baronet, was chairman.
1895 The company began to distill gin and Gilbey's Gin became a well-known brand.
1912 An advertising campaign for Gilbey's Invalid Port made it a household name.
Walter Henry, Walter Gilbey's son, became chairman of W. and A. Gilbey.