William Mitchell came to Ireland from the North of England in the early 1800s and set up a bakery business in Fairview. In 1805 he purchased No. 10 Grafton Street (where MacDonalds is now) and started a business that included a bakery, coffee shop and confectionery business. This very soon became Dublin’s most fashionable premises in which to be seen sipping “coffee”.
George Patrick Mitchell, son of William Mitchell, succeeded his father.
In 1850 Mitchells were appointed confectioners “To Her Majesty Queen Victoria”.
Robert, son of George, continued to run the Grafton Street business. He then decided to open a dedicated wine business at 21 Kildare Street in 1887. This beautiful Georgian house was built in the 1700s and purchased from John Hely Hutchinson, Provost of Trinity College.
Robert was succeeded by his widow Agnes Fairbairn Jury (of the original family of Jurys Hotels). Her only son Robert Noel Mitchell succeeded her in the Grafton Street business, while a nephew Harold Mitchell ran the Kildare Street business. When Harold died, the running of Kildare Street passed to Robert (Bobbie) Mitchell, grandson of the original Robert Mitchell. Bobbie was very involved in the business all his life until his passing in 1997.
Bobbie’s son Jonathan started work in the business in the mid 1960s, and in 1995 Jonathan’s son Robert joined the company, thus continuing the family tradition.
Mitchells opened another wine shop in 1997 at Glasthule Road, Sandycove, Co Dublin.
Like Mitchells, many of the other companies in the wine trade were family businesses, but one by one they were taken over by multinationals. Mitchells always resisted this option, preferring to keep the company within the control of the Mitchell family: so it remains to this day the only wine company in Ireland of its era to be owned and run by the descendants of the founder.
Mitchells have always looked at opportunities to improve and expand their business. In November 2008, the family sold the building in Kildare Street and moved to the chq Building in the thriving financial centre (IFSC) in Dublin 1.