Daniel Francis Murphy

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Daniel Francis Murphy
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Born7th April 1918
  • Founder
  • Wine journalist

Daniel Francis Murphy, born 7th April 1918, is best known as the founder of the largest liquor retailer in Australia, Dan Murphy's. His many roles in the wine industry also included wine journalist, vigneron and founder of Australia’s earliest wine club.


The business began in 1878 when Dan’s grandfather, Daniel Murphy, started a business, since then the Murphy name has been synonymous with the Australian Liquor industry. Using the heritage of that original date in the marketing of his new venture, Dan Murphy began trading his life’s passion - fine wine, in 1952. Since then, Dan Murphy went on to be known for being a pioneer of the Australian wine industry as we know it. Today, the Dan Murphy’s network extends to over 250 stores across Australia and boasts over 6000 different wines, local, imported, old and rare with Dan Murphy’s pride, passion, knowledge and expertise also extending to craft and imported beers, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages.

The business began in 1952 when Daniel Francis Murphy returned from a stint in the Royal Australian Air Force serving as a Flight Sergeant.[1] in the World War II. Dan leased a licensed grocery store at 282 Chapel Street[2], Prahran, Melbourne. The site started life as a storage facility and eventually expanded to become the home of both the Dan Murphy's|Vintage Club and the retail business that went on to become the official Dan Murphy’s Cellars. The location has since become a hub for wine enthusiasts, with the Vintage Club itself numbering more than 22,000 members. It was less than a kilometre from, and deliberately in competition with, the business run by Dan’s father, Timothy, whom Dan had quarrelled with leading up to starting out on his own. The Dan Murphy’s Cellar[3] lives on to this day and contains one of the most comprehensive collections of Australian and International wines.

Dan made an immediate impact with his unique and previously unseen methods to source the best wine from around the world. He bought in bulk quantities and went to great lengths to source many of his wines directly from overseas, actively seeking out new and emerging varietals as was his trailblazing nature. He was one of the first importers of wine to Australia and a great supporter of Australia’s growing wine industry, so much so he was a friend to many industry figures who have now assumed legendary status, such as Maurice O'Shea (winemaker) and Max Schubert, the father of Penfolds Grange, whose 1951 Grange became the most expensive Australian when it sold at Auction for $142,000[4]

Dan’s revered industry status led him to write stories and reviews about wines for prominent wine publications. He helped introduce Australia to new, innovative industry firsts including Cleanskin (wine)|Cleanskin Wine and Box wine|Cask Wine, both still prominent today. He even offered up space in his Wine Cellar for customers to buy and store wine, guaranteeing future return on investment.

Dan was known for holding social functions and loved the idea of opening peoples minds to new experiences and expanding their palates. He is known for being one of the first to try to open an Epicurean-style restaurant as was his belief that fine wine should be paired with good food. Although eventually failing, it showed how ahead of the times he was, as is the success of such restaurants today.

Known for his aggressive pricing structure, Dan regularly wrote his own ads, where he would often boldly boast about how none of his competitors could match him on price. As was his fastidious and obsessive nature, he would constantly be checking and proactively beating any competitors that got close to his already low prices.

Following the sale of the business to the Woolworths Group (Australia) in 1998[5], Dan sadly passed away on 26th December 2001. The network is now owned by the ASX listed[6] Endeavour Group|Endeavour Drinks Group


  1. "Flight Sergeant Francis Daniel Murphy". www.awm.gov.au. Retrieved 2021-09-02.
  2. "Dan Murphy's returns to its spiritual home at 282 Chapel St, Prahran | The World Loves Melbourne". theworldlovesmelbourne.com. Retrieved 2021-09-02.
  3. "Dan Murphy's Re-Opens Its Original Cellar in Prahran and Offers Better Scope for Suppliers". Drinks Trade. 2016-08-31. Retrieved 2021-09-02.
  4. Woodard, Richard (2021-07-19). "Penfolds Grange 1951 sets new auction record". Decanter. Retrieved 2021-09-02.
  5. "The Woolworths Story - Woolworths Group". www.woolworthsgroup.com.au. Retrieved 2021-09-02.
  6. "Endeavour Group lists on the ASX - The Shout - Liquor Industry News". The Shout. 2021-06-25. Retrieved 2021-09-02.

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