More than 150 years ago a ship in distress bound for the Argentine coast was forced to dock in Cape Town, an event that led directly to the establishment of one of the oldest and longest surviving liquor businesses in South Africa.
On board that ship was a young Edward Snell who, after disembarking, joined the Cape Town shipping firm of Thompson Walter and Co. At the time, Kwa-Zulu Natal was governed from the Cape, the main transport between colonies being small coasting vessels which carried mainly cargoes of ivory and hides. Opportunities beckoned for Edward Snell, and it was not long before he moved east from the Cape, settling in the Natal province, and establishing Edward Snell & Co. in Durban in 1848.
Initially, trade consisted chiefly of imports and exports and the firm also acted as ship’s agent for most of the sailing vessels that passed through the port. Business grew rapidly and in 1859 Edward Snell encouraged his nephew Edward Hooper, who had recently left school in England, to travel to South Africa and trained him in the business. He and his son, also Edward Snell, managed the firm until the founder’s retirement in 1885.
Edward Hooper’s son, Vernon Hooper, had also joined the business in 1883, and after some time was admitted as junior partner. In 1906 Vernon Hooper bought out the interests of the Snell family and then later formed the business into a limited liability company. He appointed his sons Edward and Noel as co-directors, the latter being the father of current Chairman David Hooper and grandfather of Managing Director Iain Hooper.
Imports of wines, spirits and beer continued to grow for Edward Snell & Company, and office premises were set up in Durban’s Commercial Road, with large connecting warehouses facing on to Queen Street. In the 1950′s, Vernon Hooper sold the company to a consortium of wholesalers which traded under the name Associated Wine Products Ltd.
In May 1980 an opportunity arose for the Hooper family to regain control of the company. The company has now been in existence for more than 160 years and is as determined as ever to stay true to the personalised hallmarks and hand shakes of a family-run business.
The bulk of Edward Snell & Co’s production takes place in a well-established and ISO 22000-compliant facility in Johannesburg. Currently they blend 10 of their own brands into 37 different packs and a further 13 brand packs for local and international principals. The Cape Town facility has a single line that aids distribution efficiencies by bottling seven of the most popular brand packs in the Western Cape. The total combined blending and bottling capacity is approximately two million 9 litre equivalent cases of spirits.
With 7 distribution centres across the main provinces of South Africa, and 5 third party distributors in place, Edward Snell & Co. are able to efficiently distribute their brands to a customer base over 4500 strong.
Full-Service Marketing and Sales
Edward Snell & Co. has an extensive national sales network and a focussed team of dedicated marketing professionals. These teams are entirely responsible for the marketing, promotion and evolution of the companies own brands as well as those of its international brand Principals.
Edward Snell & Co. market their own, as well as principal brands, in various African and Middle Eastern markets including Mozambique, Namibia, Abu Dhabi, Swaziland, Botswana, Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya and Zambia.
Edward Snell & Co. is a level 8 contributor to B-BBEE.
Download our updated certificate: B-BBEE Certificate – Edward Snell and Company (Pty) Ltd
We love our brands
Our consumers and brands are our lifeblood. We will always support them, cheer for them and celebrate their wins.
We forever strive to improve
We continuously aim to raise the bar in everything we do.
We lead with confidence and humility
We are proud of who we are and where we come from. We are never arrogant; instead we choose to show strength of character.
We respect the individual
Whoever we engage with, we treat everyone with the same respect and consideration as we would want to be treated ourselves.
We have a fighting spirit
We fight hard, but we fight fair. We never give up. We fight alongside and for each other.
We are fiercely independent
We are not followers. We carve out our own path and decide what is best for our future.
After qualifying with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, Iain spent three years in a newly established vehicle finance division of the McCarthy Motor Group in Durban.
Iain’s career in the liquor industry began in 1993 when he moved to Zimbabwe to establish a bottling and distribution business operating under license to Edward Snell & Co. In 1993 he joined Edward Snell & Co. South Africa as General Manager of the Johannesburg branch.
In 2002 Iain joined the Board and relocated to Cape Town in 2005 when he was appointed as Managing Director, a position he held for 16 years.
Iain was appointed as Chairman in May 2021
Karin started her career in 2001 at British American Tobacco, holding various cross-functional roles within Brand Marketing, Sales & Commercial Management and Business Strategy across South Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe and the rest of Africa. From there, she moved onto the Distell business in 2015 as Group Head of Capability developing and globally rolling out an end-to-end Marketing Academy encompassing all levels within the organisation.
Karin joined Edward Snell & Co. in March 2017 as Head of Marketing and was appointed to the Board as Marketing Director at the end of that same year. She holds a Bachelors of Commerce at the University of Stellenbosch, a post graduate diploma in Market Research at the University of Georgia and an M.Phil post graduate degree in Futures Studies at the University of Stellenbosch.
Karin was appointed Managing Director in May of 2021.
Neil started his career as an industrial engineer in the steel industry, and moved into the liquor industry when he joined SAB after completing a full-time MBA in 1992. He spent four years at SAB, initially in a consulting role and then managing a continuous shift packaging line.
Neil joined Edward Snell & Co. in 1997 as the National Production Manager, based in Johannesburg, and his portfolio of responsibilities grew gradually over the years to include Production, Planning, Procurement, Distribution and Human Resources. He re-located to Cape Town in March 2001 and was appointed a Director in 2002.
With the appointment of Bayanda Cwazibe to Supply Chain Director Designate in March 2021, Neil has been able to shift his focus entirely to the implementation of the re-prioritised Human Resources strategy.
Chris previously worked in the banking sector for JP Morgan and UBS in London after finishing his articles at Deloitte & Touch. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Rhodes University and Honours Bachelor of Accounting Science from Unisa. He was admitted to the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants in 1997 and is a member of The Association of Corporate Treasurers, London.
Chris joined Edward Snell & Co. in 2001 and was appointed interim Financial Director in October 2019 and to the Board of Directors in July 2020.
After completing his BComm Marketing degree at the University of Pretoria Andries began working at Edward Snell & Co. in 2006, and stayed with the company for 3 years moving through various field representative and Management positions across the regions for the company. After leaving the company at the end of 2008 Andries took on a number of roles that saw him progress from Sales Manager in On Premise, Off Premise, Main Market and then on to Sales Executive in South African Breweries (SAB) excelling in each role and receiving multiple sales awards during his tenure.
Andries returned to Edward Snell & Co. in the capacity of National Sales Manager in 2013 overseeing the commercial structure and execution for the company. Andries was appointed to the board of directors as Sales Director for the company in 2014 and has held the position to date.
After completing his degree at Wits University, Brett started his career in internal audit and finance with Toyota South Africa, before moving on to General Electric, where he led various business units in a commercial role including heading up African Business Development for GE Security. During his last two years at GE, he took up the challenge of leading the supply chain and operations for the group.
Brett joined Edward Snell & Co. in 2009 as the General Manager for the Inland region, where he was responsible for the Inland business division, including the national distribution centre and centralised production, debtors and call centre operations. Brett was appointed to the Board of Directors in 2014 and in 2018 he was appointed into the role of Inland & Group Logistics Director, responsible for the Inland commercial team and all national logistical functions.
Brett holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) degree from Wits and a Master’s in Business Leadership (MBL) from Unisa’s School of Business Leadership.
Bayanda Cwazibe has an Industrial Engineering degree from the University of Johannesburg, a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration and a top-rated Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Gordon’s Institute of Business Science (GIBS). Additionally, he has significant experience in the operations space, having worked at various positions for world-class manufacturing companies that include IBM, Danone SA and Heineken South Africa.
In his ever-expanding career, Bayanda has developed into an operations specialist, a leader and an innovator with rich experience in plant optimisation initiatives. Since joining the company in September 2017, Bayanda was responsible for consolidating our local production operations in Isando, which blends and bottles Edward Snell & Co.’s locally produced products. In addition to developing and significantly upskilling the Production Team, Bayanda has also overseen our facility’s extremely successful capital upgrade in Johannesburg.
Bayanda was appointed to Head of Supply Chain in March 2021.
Melanie has a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing and started her career in 2020. Her track record of leadership spans a multitude of marketing fields including NPD, portfolio management, brands marketing, consumer insights, sales management and CRM, across a number of international markets in both Europe & Africa.
Her influence has touched some of the world’s most iconic brands including the likes of Heineken, Guinness, Johnnie Walker and Absolut where her track record for growth and market share gains has been tantamount as seen in the 4 time Cannes award winning campaign which tripled Absolut’s size in 3 years.
Melanie joined Edward Snell & Co in February 2021 where she seeks to continue the legacy of building Africa’s greatest brands.