Company History

Following the tradition of his father and grandfather, Johann Friedrich established a freight commission business on Rhine River, providing loading, unloading and customs clearance services to the river-barges which connected Mainz with Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
In the mid-nineteenth century, the wine trade started booming in Mainz, and Johann Friedrich began to expand the services by land and rail reaching out to Eastern Europe.
Johann Friedrich´s sons Dionis and Louis entered the business in 1875 and extended the business to America.
After the death of his father Dionis, Karl Hillebrand became the sole partner of the company. The business flourished. By 1919, the company employed 70 commercial employees plus 50 dock workers, warehouse staff, and truck drivers.
JF Hillebrand was made a Limited Company and went from strength to strength. In 1924, 7,000 tons of goods were shipped overseas, increasing to 210,000 tons by 1939.
The War, however, had a devastating effect. JF Hillebrand’s warehouses and offices were destroyed, and everything had to be built from scratch. Karl Hillebrand, with his son Jan, set about rebuilding the business, expanding once again the river-barge and overseas business.
The advent of the sea container provided further opportunities for expansion. Jan Hillebrand and business partner Paul Ebert realised that the container was the ideal tool for shipping wines across the globe. The path to the New World was secure.
In the early 1970’s, the US, Canadian, and British markets were developed. In 1974 JF Hillebrand France was founded in Beaune, and quickly became the market leader in French wine exports. By 1979, the company had offices in Germany, France, the USA, Italy, and Scotland.
Under current CEO Gerard Desbois, JF Hillebrand became the market leader in French wine exports. By the mid 1980s, JF Hillebrand operated a network of offices across Europe, and began in earnest to expand into other markets across the New World wine producing regions.
Throughout the 1990´s, our office network in Asia and the New World wine countries was expanded. Harnessing the new opportunities provided by developments in IT, the company set about using new online technologies to innovate and expand services.
JF Hillebrand began their third century as the market leader in specialised logistics services. The company expanded further with the acquisition of leading flexitank operator Trans Ocean, and continued to develop new markets such as India, China, Russia and Brazil.
Today JF Hillebrand is the world's leading specialist logistics provider to the wine and spirit trade, with a global network of offices in every major wine and spirit market. Our company continues to grow and strive with the same commitment and enthusiasm as we had back in 1844. Whilst we are proud to look back at our past, we also raise a glass to the future.