Caldbeck, MacGregor & Company Ltd – HK branch opened in 1889
“The firm of Messrs. Caldbeck, Macgregor & Co., established in 1864, is the largest and best known in the wine and spirit trade in the East. The headquarters are in Rangoon Street, Crutched Friars, London, and there are branches in Glasgow, Shanghai, Hongkong, Singapore, and Tientsin; whilst agencies have been established at Port Arthur, Chefoo, Weihaiwei, Kiaochau, Hankow, Foochow, Taiwan, Canton, Macao, the Philippines, British North Borneo, and Penang.
The Hongkong branch, which was opened in 1889 [another source says 1890], is managed by Mr. C. J. Lafrentz, one of the managing partners of the firm; whilst Mr. Frank Lammert is assistant manager and signs per pro. Messrs. A. G. da Rocha, and C. J. M. Pereira are assistants, and there is a large staff of men engaged in the godowns and in the bottling department, which latter is under the charge of Europeans.
An extensive trade is done with the army and navy, with the numerous local clubs and hotels, and with the leading residents of the Colony. Over a hundred and fifty British men-of-war have been supplied by the firm since 1878, and about fifty military messes have dealt with the firm since 1890. Nearly a hundred United States warships also appear on the list of patrons.
The firm undertakes contracts on special terms, allowing in full for unconsumed stocks returned in good order. The firm has a special cable code for out-ports, its telegraphic address being “Caldbeck, Hongkong.” The wines and spirits supplied by Messrs. Caldbeck, Macgregor & Co., are all of good quality, but the connoisseur will agree that their V.O.S. whisky merits particular mention. The local office is at No. 15. Queen’s Road.(1)
Established in Shanghai in 1864, George Smith & Co. ventured into the Wines and Spirits business. John Macgregor and E. J. Caldbeck took over the company and change its name to Caldbeck,MacGregor & Co. Ltd in 1883. It emerged as the leading wine & spirits business in the Far East. (2)
This article was first posted on 7th June 2017.
- Wright, Arnold, : Twentieth Century Impressions of Hongkong, Shanghai, and Other Treaty Ports of China: Their History. People, Commerce, Industries, and Resources. London: Lloyd’s Greater Britain Publishing Company, Ltd., 1908.
- 2Caldbeck, MacGregor & Company Ltd – company website
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