Known around the world for its amber color and chestnut-like taste, Harvey’s Bristol Cream is a pioneer in the sherry industry. Its story dates back to the late 1700s, when sherry wines were transported from Spain to England by ships and blended in the now-famous city of Bristol. In the years that followed, Harvey’s Bristol Cream forged a lane of its own within the category, becoming a staple among the royals and a notable holiday beverage.
The heyday of sherry may be behind us, but this famous blend by Harvey’s has remained a timeless icon. Amped to learn more about this legendary sherry? Then read on to learn nine cool facts about Harvey’s Bristol Cream.
The Harvey name was established after the company.
In 1796, William Perry and Thomas Urch established their wine-trading business in Bristol. Shortly after, the partners took on Urch’s nephew John Harvey as an apprentice who quickly climbed the ladder and became senior partner of the company. The business in turn adopted the new name John Harvey & Sons in 1871.
Harvey’s is distinctly British.
Despite being produced in Spain’s renowned sherry wine region of Jerez, Harvey’s has a uniquely British identity. When the company was first established in 1796, the sherry was imported to Britain before being blended at a facility on the now-historic Denmark street in Bristol, England.
Harvey’s Bristol Cream is a special recipe.
The beloved Bristol Cream is the result of an intricate blend containing sherries from over 30 barrels, at various ages. But what really makes this recipe one-of-a-kind is that it’s made from four different styles of sherry including Pedro Ximenez, oloroso, amontillado, and fino.
Harvey’s Bristol Cream is a well-decorated sherry.
Harvey’s is no stranger to awards — and this is especially true for its Bristol Cream. The nutty, caramel-forward sherry has won several international awards, including Commended International Wine Challenge award in both 2014 and 2016. The sherry placed at the 2015 International Wine & Spirits Competition and International Wine Challenge, where it was awarded bronze medals.
The Bristol Cream blend was named by a customer.
Harvey employed several of his family members, including his sons John II and Edward who later took over the business. In the 1860s, the brothers perfected their Bristol Milk — a common nickname at the time for sweetened oloroso sherry — and sought to create a new sherry blend that would be richer than the original recipe. As the story goes, one day while working in their cellar, the brothers were visited by a lady of society looking to buy some milk sherry. Seeking feedback, they asked her to try their new blend, about which she remarked, “If that is milk, then this must be cream.” So, they adopted the name Bristol Cream for the decadent product, officially trademarking it in 1882.
The Harvey brothers actually created the cream sherry category.
After being trademarked, Harvey’s Bristol Cream gained popularity worldwide. This allowed it to be sold on a massive scale globally, forever changing the sherry industry by creating a new category, aptly named cream sherry.
Harvey’s Bristol Cream received a royal honor.
In 1895, Harvey’s Bristol Cream received a Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria, which can only be granted after a company has become a regular supplier to the royal household. With this stamp of approval, warrant holders can proudly display the royal coat of arms on their products. Harvey’s Bristol Cream was the only Spanish product permitted to display the seal at this time.
Harvey’s was a favorite of the late Queen Elizabeth.
Harvey’s continued its royal reign, becoming a favorite of Queen Elizabeth II during her rule. So much so, that in 2013, the company revealed a limited-edition bottle to commemorate the 60th anniversary of her coronation. The special bottle was displayed at the Coronation Festival, during which samples were served to the guests over ice and with a twist of orange, just the way Queen Elizabeth liked it.
Harvey’s Bristol Cream recently got a slick makeover.
In 2019, the Harvey’s marketing team decided that the Bristol Cream’s dated bottle needed a refresh. But a simple tweaking wouldn’t do. Instead, the brand revealed a sleek new label that turns blue when the sherry inside has been appropriately chilled. The change was meant to encourage drinkers to rethink the way sherry is typically served and inspire them to drink it cooled with an orange slice or twist.