LOS ANGELES -- Pabst Brewing Co. has named Simon Thorpe its new chief executive officer effective Dec. 1, 2016. Eugene Kashper, current chairman and CEO, will remain full-time chairman of the board and continue to play an active role in the business, according to the company. There will be a 60-day transition period between Kashper and Thorpe to ensure a smooth handover.
Simon previously waspresident and CEO of Belgian craft-beer brewer Duvel Moortgat USA. He was instrumental in building the high-end success of Duvel Moortgat’s Brewery Ommegang in upstate New York and established Duvel Moortgat’s partnerships with Boulevard Brewing Co. in Kansas City, Mo., and Firestone Walker Brewing Co. in Paso Robles, Calif.
Simon also led the development of Duvel Moortgat’s import-brand portfolio, including Duvel, La Chouffe, Liefmans and Mardesous. Over a 30-year career, Thorpe has also served as head of M&A/strategy for InBev, president and CEO of InBev USA. He previously held positions with Crayola, Kellogg’s, Tambrands and Unilever.
"[Thorpe] is both a true beer industry visionary and a highly respected operator," Kashper said. "I have no doubt that Simon’s breadth of experience and proven leadership capabilities will enable us to realize our ambition to become a best-in-class beer supplier and a truly great American brewing company."
As for company strategy, Kashper said Pabst "will continue to focus on Pabst Blue Ribbon and our core heritage brands while building a nimble and powerful sales and distribution platform that will allow us to continue forging exciting partnerships with like-minded independent brewers.”
About his new role, Thorpe said, “Pabst is an iconic American brewing company that is well positioned to be tremendously successful as the world of beer becomes even more competitive and complex. ... The chance to join Eugene and the team at this particular time in the company’s evolution is all that one could wish for."
Thorpe; his wife, Kati; and their son Henry will relocate to Los Angeles, where Pabst, the brewer of Lone Star, Rainier, Ballantine IPA, Schlitz, Old Style, National Bohemian, Stag, Stroh’s and Old Milwaukee, among other beer brands, is based.