History of Jerez Brandy


Jerez brandy is a relatively “young” beverage in historical terms, but it is part of the long and prestigious winemaking and distilling tradition of the Jerez Designation of Origin.

One could say the part of the brandy’s origins is old while another part goes far back in time.

This tradition (the more remote origins of Jerez Brandy) goes a long way back, as wine spirit has been produced in the region for centuries. Regarding the quality of the distilled wines, we could mention that in 1824 British expert A. Henderson had already mentioned in his book The History of Ancient and Modern Wines that the areas distilled wines were Spain’s best.

Back then the wine spirit made in Jerez had no colour, was never in contact with wood except during transport and storage and it was not aged before sale. The fact that in some old references to these eau-de-vies they are called brandy should not confuse us with Jerez Brandy, as the British used this term because it meant burnt wine or eau-de-vie in their language.  

Genuine Jerez Brandy is a distinct eau-de-vie and its origins are more recent. It is a new type of wine spirit that dates back to the late 19th century. The use of the term brandy to describe is owing to the perspectives that producers had regarding sales in the British market.

As opposed to earlier regional brandies, Jerez Brandy is a wine spirit that has been aged in the Criaderas y Soleras system in oak casks that have previously held sherry wines. This production and ageing process makes Jerez Brandy a unique eau-de-vie with distinct characteristics.

El Brandy de Jerez surgió en el último tercio del siglo XIX como resultado de la búsqueda de alternativas a la crisis coyuntural que atravesaba en ese periodo la vinatería del Marco del Jerez. La empresas vinateras de Jerez y El Puerto dieron muestras de su iniciativa y capacidad de adaptación al mercado ofreciendo un nuevo aguardiente vínico de calidad.

Jerez brandy was created in the late 19th century as the result of an effort to come up with alternative products to offset the crisis that the Jerez winemaking industry was undergoing at the time. The winemaking firms in Jerez and El Puerto showed their capacity for initiative and adaptation when they offered a new wine spirit that was of high quality. Tradition and innovation were once again combined in the Jerez region to create a singular beverage. Jerez Brandy was a driving force behind an economic, technological, social and cultural revival of the winemaking sector.

Thanks to Jerez Brandy the effects of the crisis in sales and benefits in the Jerez wineries was offset. The brandy’s influence in technological modernization of the sector was important. In addition, production of this beverage first helped to stem the loss of jobs and later contributed to increasing employment. 
Javier Maldonado Rosso
Director of the Municipal Centre of Historical Patrimony
of El Puerto de Santa María