Our History

The Drinks Trust, formerly The Benevolent, has been supporting the drinks industry since 1886, take a look at our story below to see where we’ve come from.

On 1st of February 1886, Robert Gray, a City of London wine merchant, wrote a letter to the chairman of the Wine and Spirit Association proposing the formation of a Benevolent Society for the current and previous long-term employees of the wine and spirit trade facing hardship.

Following this, a letter was published in the press voicing concern that the drinks industry was in recession and therefore could not afford a trade charity. This prompted Robert Gray to comment that this made the need even more urgent, and his colleagues agreed.

The charity’s first general meeting was held on 8th December 1886 at the Vintners’ Hall in London hosted by the Worshipful Company at Vintners’.

The Vintners’ Company

Harper Wine & Spirit Gazette covered the story and wrote ‘Born in a time of severe depression, matured during times of hope for a better future, and formally established at a time when the dawn of prosperity shows signs of tardy approach, the Society should have a proud future’.

These words would prove to be prophetic, and the charity now boasts a proud legacy.

Although many things in the drinks industry have changed over the years, our mission remains unchanged and as pertinent as ever; to help those from our industry facing serious social and medical issues, as well as financial hardship.

The Drinks Trust

From March 2020, The Benevolent became known as The Drinks Trust, and it continues to support the members of the drinks industry as it has since 1886. In addition to this, it strives to enable the members of its community to thrive and succeed in their professions. This holistic approach was approved to answer the need of the modern drinks industry.

To find out more about how The Drinks Trust can help you in your work-life and with your wellbeing, visit our Get Help Pages.