COOPERSTOWN, NY – On June 21st, the Knighthood of Belgian Brewers met and confirmed the list of 2012 inductees as Chevalerie or Knights of Honor, and the Members of Right. These are both rare and high honors (even more rare for Americans) they will be extended to two gentlemen with ties to Brewery Ommegang: John Lane, founder of the Winking Lizard restaurant chain in Ohio, a new Chevalerie, and Simon Thorpe, President/CEO of Duvel USA/Brewery Ommegang, a new Member of Right. These two, along with 6 others, will be inducted into the ‘brotherhood’ of brewers on Friday August 31st prior to the Belgian Beer Weekend at the Grand Place in Brussels.
The elite group of Knights of Honor known as le Chevalerie du Fourquet des Brasseurs, are descendants of the ancient Brewers Guild in Belgium. Participation in this order is a distinction reserved for only those in the top of the brewing profession, chosen for their service elevating life through beer. To date, only a minute group of Americans have received this honor; notable among this select group, Brewery Ommegang Brewmaster Phil Leinhart, was inducted as a Chevalerie in September 2008.
Also inducted will be the Members of Right, they are current members of the Brotherhood who are active in the brewing industry. Through their involvement the Members of Right are closely related to brewing and all aspects of the industry. The Members of Right will form the General Council and will also elect the Grand Council.
“In my 25 years being in the business, this is certainly the greatest honor that I have ever received,” said John Lane of the Winking Lizard. Lane was put forth for recognition by Brewery Ommegang through its parent company, Duvel Moortgat NV. “I am truly humbled and honored by being chosen to represent Belgian beers in my tiny part of the world.” A founding partner at Winking Lizard, Lane is in charge of system-wide operations and handles its award-winning beer program.
Winking Lizard operates in 15 locations and additionally two new outlets under the ‘Lizardville’ concept, which features over 600 of the best beers in the world for consumption on-premise or off. Lane has been a supporter of Belgian beer since founding the Winking Lizard 23 years ago and continually educates others through events and his ‘World Tour of Beers’.
President/CEO of Duvel Moortgat USA/Brewery Ommegang, Simon Thorpe will also be inducted as a Member of Right alongside Lane. Thorpe joined Duvel Moortgat in 2009, driving the company’s Belgian import and Belgian-style craft business to extraordinary growth. With a passion for developing luxury beer in the US, Thorpe enjoys the benefits of one of the world’s best beer portfolios, inclusive of Duvel, Achouffe, Liefmans, Mardesous, De Koninck and Brewery Ommegang. Prior to coming aboard with Duvel Moortgat, Thorpe was the Head of M&A for InBev and the President/CEO of InBev USA.
“I am truly humbled and honored by this recognition,” said Thorpe. “To be honored in such a manner is extraordinary, alongside pioneers like John Lane and a truly iconic chef like Robert Wiedmaier — is something that I will treasure always and a highlight of my career for certain.”
Besides Lane and Thorpe, the additional confirmed inductees include: Simon Bergson of Manhattan Beer Distributors; Robert Wiedmaier Full Circle Chef; Vicki Debski of D&V International Florid’, Ian McCarthy Micro Man Distributors Florida; Jim Houchins of Artisanal Imports Austin; and Clifford Lusso of Global Beer Network.
The inauguration ceremony takes place prior to the Beer Weekend in the Grand Place in Brussels. The Confederation of Brewers and le Chevalerie do Fourquet des Brasseurs leads a parade of historic beer wagons and brewery carts through the streets. Beer is consecrated at the Magdelena Church and the induction of new honorees will take place that afternoon.
Duvel Strong Golden Ale is the signature beer of Duvel Moortgat — fourth-generation Belgian brewers. Duvel Moortgat USA, Ltd. imports Duvel Golden Ale, Maredsous Abbey Ales, Chouffe Ales, Liefmans, and DeKoninck Ales and also sells the beers of Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown NY. For more information visit www.ommegang.com or www.duvel.com.