Published On: 16/02/20232.2 min read

We’re launching a new series taking a deeper look at some of the UK’s biggest and most well-established media houses.

First up is the eponymous William Reed, publisher of some of the UK’s most respected trade titles such as The Grocer, The Morning Advertiser, Convenience Store and Forecourt Trader as well as hosting a number of awards, conferences and exhibitions.

Yorkshire sugar merchant William Reed founded his publishing company, William Reed Publishing, in 1862, taking advantage of his industry knowledge and contacts to launch his first journal, The Grocer. Setting up shop on London’s Bow Lane, The Grocer chronicled grocery industry news and analysis, and a year later gained a supplement called The Wine Trade Review. A couple of years on in 1864, Reed targeted the brewing industry launching the Brewers Journal alongside its supplement Hop & Malt Trades Review, followed by Tobacco Trade Review in 1868.

Quite remarkably, The Grocer was published continuously throughout both World Wars, and has now been running for a staggering 160 years, still at the top of its game and considered a behemoth at the helm of grocery retail media in the UK. The title considers itself to be akin to a national newspaper, and rightly so, as it regularly leads the news agenda with story exclusives on industry news which later appear in wider consumer-facing news outlets. The Grocer was the first William Reed title to launch its own e-newsletters in 2001 with The Grocer Today, and shortly after in 2002 had its very own website. The title even had a short-lived foray into the world of television with GrocerTV trialling on Sky Digital in 2000.

Now based across UK offices in Crawley in Sussex and London’s Fleet Street, William Reed has more than 300 employees and 35 media brands, continuing to specialise in the length and breadth of the food and drink trade world. It currently publishing titles including British Baker, Food Manufacture, Big Hospitality and Restaurant, with its current portfolio of over 80 websites including the likes of Confectionery News, Beverage Daily, Bakery & Snacks and Dairy Reporter. Meanwhile, its exhibitions include Low2NoBev, The Forecourt Show, The National Convenience Show, Farm Shop & Deli Show, The Big Hospitality Expo and Food & Drink Expo, and its 80+ annual awards include The Grocer New Products, The Grocer Gold Awards and The Publican Awards.

Reed died in 1920, with The Grocer sitting as his company’s best-known publication, and regularly used by the Ministry of Food to make announcements. After his death, the company continued to be operated by his son and today is still family owned with William’s great, great grandson Charles Reed as its current CEO.