A long-lasting family business: Edward Snell & Co

More than 150 years ago, a ship headed to the Argentine coast was forced to dock in Cape Town. This event led directly to the founding of one of the oldest and most long-established liquor companies in South Africa. Among the people on that ship was a young Edward Snell who, after landing, joined the Cape Town shipping company of Thompson Walter and Co. In 1848 he founded his own company in Durban: Edward Snell & Co.

Originally, the trade consisted mainly of imports and exports and the company acted as a shipping agent for most of the sailing ships passing through the port. Business grew rapidly and in 1859 Edward Snell encouraged his nephew Edward Hooper to travel to South Africa to be involved in the business.

In 1883 Edward Hooper’s son, Vernon Hooper, joined the company as well and was admitted as a junior partner. In 1906 Vernon Hooper acquired the interests of the Snell family and transformed the company into a limited liability company. He appointed his sons Edward and Noel as co-directors.

During the 20th century wine, spirits and beer imports continued to grow for Edward Snell & Company. Today the President David Hooper is increasingly determined to remain true to the typical features and values of a family business.

Bayanda Cwazibe, Production Manager Edward Snell, describes Africa’s business environment and the future goals of the company.


“Our vision is represented by our values: respect for the employees, love for our brands, constant quality analysis and improvement, “fighting” spirit. The mission of Edward Snell & Co is aiming to be the most respected Wine & Spirits firm in Africa”.


What do you think the biggest challenges in your industry will be in the next years?

One of the biggest challenges for our company is the present low economic growth of South Africa, where unemployment and inability to grow consumption are two critical complications. Anyway, we are planning our business activities in order to have good growth prospects: we have bought some new equipment that will support the improvement in quality and productivity and will lead us to the expected business expansion.

Why did you choose CFT Group as a supplier? What are the strengths of CFT Group’s filling portfolio, through which Snell has implemented its production range?

CFT Group was marketed to us by USS Pactech, a company with whom we already had an established relationship. The references provided gave us encouraging feedback and we now have two Magic Rinser/ Filler/ Capper Tribloc machines in our production facility. The machines’ capacities are well-matched to our requirements for the two production lines and we are extremely satisfied with the equipment’s performances.

How do you see your company in 10 years?

Edward Snell & Co. plans to grow its market share in the South African spirits market significantly and to further expand its footprint into selected African markets. We believe that the machines that we have installed and commissioned should be able to support our planned growth over the next five to seven years.

Where do you think the collaboration with CFT Group will bring you?

Through USS Pactech we foresee an enduring relationship with CFT Group, that will enable Snell to satisfy the production and quality goals for many years.

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