Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Tribute to ex-OLN editor Denis Clark

Published:  23 July, 2008

The sad loss of Denis Clark, former editor of Off Licence News, came as a bitter personal blow at the end of last year. Besides being the leading trade press journalist of his generation, he was great fun to work with.
Under the hard-man exterior was a warm, generous heart, and while he never suffered fools gladly, he was ever loyal to his staff, had a wicked sense of humour and at times showed great courage in his defence of the trade against the unscrupulous.

After a spell with the Kent Messenger, Denis worked on the relaunch of Retail Chemist as part of a team that turned it from a small and failing magazine into a successful tabloid newspaper. He was asked to tackle a similar task in 1970 when William Reed decided to relaunch The Wine & Spirit Trade Review as Off Licence News. Within 18 months, this paper, which had been on the point of folding, was already gaining a reputation as a hard-hitting, investigative trade journal, and for nearly two decades, with Denis at the helm, it was a much respected - and some might say feared - chronicle of the trade.

He opened the door on many of the trade's skeletons: it was Denis who showed how extensive the network of secret' Rumasa companies really was, how the Liebfraudmilch' scandal of the mid-1980s was being worked, and how various VAT and duty fiddles were being perpetrated. No one was safe - not even advertisers!

His decision to leave journalism for the world of public relations surprised many - gamekeeper turned poacher, it seemed - but he brought his professionalism to his new career and prospered until his health forced him into early retirement.

We miss you, Clarkie.