Video: Duvel Moortgat USA President Discusses Packaging Redesign, Pricing And Expansion

Duvel Moortgat USA President Simon Thorpe summed it up best when he asked: “Is there a price on perfection?”

While the answer for Thorpe was no, for Belgium-based Duvel Moortgat U.S. craft’s arm the answer was nearly three times the amount it had initially planned to spend on its two-year-redesign process.

The company hired Minneapolis, Minn.-based design firm Duffy & Partners to create a playful but refined look with a consistent theme that is both eye-catching and clearly conveys the company message – perfection.

“We wanted to define more clearly what the Brewery Ommegang brand stood for,” he said. “We wanted to make sure there was an overarching, linking theme between all of the beers. That theme is perfection.”

The company “consciously avoided looking at beer packaging,” when determining which direction the design would head Thorpe said. Instead, the design firm spent a lot of time looking at high-end goods in an attempt to “distill down the luxury cues.”

“In an increasingly cluttered craft segment, we have to make sure we have visibility,” Thorpe said.

But a new and improved label isn’t all Thorpe has planned. The Cooperstown, N.Y. – based craft brewer is currently in the midst of a long-term, $14 million expansion that includes renovations to its packaging line. Thorpe said a majority of that is being paid for by cash flow from the U.S. business but Duvel Moortgat has also provided two lines of credit to the U.S. business. Thorpe said Duvel Moortgat USA is profitable. Through June, the company had revenues of $33 million.

The expansion will take Brewery Ommegang’s capacity to about 150,000 hectoliters, half of which is already online. Thorpe is projecting 38,700 hectoliters for 2012, and that doesn’t include the company’s import business from brands like Duvel, Maredsous and Brasserie D’Achouffe.

Expansions and redesigns aside, Thorpe’s top priority is still quality, which he said allows the Ommegang brand to be “priced at the top end of the pyramid.”

“We take a very constructive approach with wholesalers,” he said. “We typically want to be the number one [or two] most profitable brand [per case] in a wholesaler’s portfolio.”

In’s latest video feature, Thorpe discusses these topics and more with Editor Chris Furnari.

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