Woodford Bourne & Co.

Woodford Bourne & Co.

Woodford Bourne is a wine and spirits business currently based in Lisburn, Northern Ireland.

In the 1840s John Woodford was running a grocery shop on the Grand Parade in Cork, Ireland. The principal product was loose leaf tea, which was imported from India and China then blended and packaged within Woodford & Co. John Woodford died in 1847 and a couple of years later his widow married an employee of the company called James Bourne. In 1850 the firm was renamed Woodford Bourne & Co.

In 1869 the company purchased the entire stock of the Cork wine merchants Maziere & Sainthill, and expanded the business to include wines and later spirits. Woodford Bourne was the first company in Ireland to import wine from the south of France. It arrived in Cork in tankers with a capacity of 30,000 bottles.

The Woodford Bourne store became the place where professionals and well-off Cork residents would come to buy tea, wine and whisky, including a curiously named Extra Old Mild Invalids’ Whiskey. Port was bottled for the exclusive Cork and County Club. Liqueurs, sherry, coffees, spices, pickles, fish sauces, beer and flowers were also sold.

James Bourne retired in the late 1860s and an employee of the firm, James Adam Nicholson, an immigrant from England, eventually became sole owner and the company remained in the hands of the Nicholson family for generations.

In 1988 Woodford Bourne was acquired by an Irish drinks company called Wardell Roberts.