Tanners celebrates 175th anniversary

UK wine merchant Tanners is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year with a special dinner in its hometown of Shrewsbury this November.

Richard and Clive Tanner

Chairman James Tanner commented on the milestone: “Of course it’s lovely to be running one of the oldest wine merchants in Britain, but I always maintain that we are only as good as the wines we sell and the service we give today.

“That’s why Tanners is actually a very forward looking company, always watching and helping to form new trends in wine drinking, while using the best of technology to handle a massive range of wines and tailor them to a very wide range of customers. That’s how we hope to be trading for a very great many years yet.”

Tanners today is the product of two Shrewsbury wine merchants, Thomas Southam & Son founded in 1842 and W&HE Tanner founded in 1877 by William Tanner and his brother Edward.

Tanner acquired Southam & Son in 1936 and although they initially traded as two businesses they were amalgamated during the war and traded as Tanner & Southam until 1960 when it became simply, Tanners.

In the ‘old days’ (until 1960) the merchant operated as many others did in those days with no shop or bottles on display. Customers had to make an order in the front office from a list and those collecting an order were given a chit and sent on their way to the stores.

Richard Tanner broke that mold in 1960 when he opened the first self-select off licence in the entire county, in Mardol Street. His father, Clive, insisted it be called ‘The Wine Centre’ to disassociate it with Tanners.

Today Tanners operates six shops across Shropshire, mid-Wales and the north west, having recently opened a store in Chester. It also recently overhauled its website to make improve its online wine buying service and make it mobile and tablet-friendly.

Still family owned, James Tanner is the fourth generation of the family to work there, it employs 100 people across its shops as well as its headquarters in Shrewsbury and distribution depot in Wales.

To mark its 175th anniversary the merchant is hosting a dinner in Shrewsbury on 2 November. Full details can be found here.

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