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.
Dave Hooper has been at the pioneering helm of the Edward Snell & Co. ship since the family managed to regain control of the business in 1980. He first worked as Managing Director for 25 years from 1980 – 2005, and since 2005 has been Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Dave’s personal involvement and input into many of the Edward Snell & Co. owned brands has ensured the strong growth and success of many of them over long periods of time. He is passionate about brands, always looking to evolve and progress them, while strongly believing in the very important history and heritage behind them.
After qualifying with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, Iain spent three years in the motor industry helping to establish and manage a structured vehicle finance company owned by the McCarthy group.
In 1993 he moved to Zimbabwe to set up a bottling and distribution business operating under licence to Edward Snell & Co. South Africa and joined Edward Snell & Co. South Africa in 1997 as General Manager of the Johannesburg branch.
In 2002 Iain joined the Edward Snell & Co. board and relocated to Cape Town where he was appointed Managing Director in 2005.
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 in line management.
Neil joined Edward Snell & Co. in 1997 as the National Production Manager, based in Johannesburg, and his portfolio of responsibilities has grown 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.
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 Financial Director in October 2019.
David started out his professional career as a Lawyer, being admitted as an attorney in 1973, and practicing for 24 years. He then joined Robertsons (Pty) Ltd as Group Commercial Director in 1997 for a further 5 years.
David’s legal prowess saw him elected as the President of the Natal Law Society and Association of Law Societies. Positions he acted in for many years. He joined Edward Snell & Co. as a Director on Advisory and Strategic matters in 2005.
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 Rep and Management positions across the regions. After leaving in 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) . 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 as Sales Director for the company in 2014.
Brett started his work career 19 years ago, with Toyota South Africa. Internal Audit and finance kept him busy for 3 years, before making a move across to commercial support. From there, a change of scenery took him to General Electric, where a brief stint in key account management developed into heading business development for South Africa, and later the whole of sub-Saharan Africa.
Brett joined Edward Snell & Co. in 2009 as the GM for the Gauteng region, where he heads up sales, production, distribution, and the contact centre. He was appointed to the Board of Directors in 2014. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) from Wits and a Masters in Business Leadership (MBL) from Unisa.
Karin started her career 17 years ago 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.