Italy: Duvel Moortgat doubles stake in Birrificio del Ducato

Less than one year after it became known that Duvel Moortgat acquired 35% in Birrificio del Ducato, artisanal brewery from Roncole Verdi near Parma (, 16.7.2017). Now, the family owned Belgium brewer with a distinctive focus on specialty beers announced that is has doubled its stake in the Italian craft beer brewery to 70%. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Birrificio del Ducato is a craft brewery, launched in 2007 by two partners, Giovanni Campari – the brewer of the two of them – and Manuel Piccoli. Since Birrificio del Ducato took up the new partner the Italian brewer has nearly doubled its output from 5,000 hectolitres to 9,000 hectolitres a year and installed a new bottling line.

The brewery has received many honours (including ‘Italian brewery of the year’ in 2010 and 2011) as well as almost 100 national and international awards: 40 gold medals, 28 silver and 24 bronze. Birrificio del Ducato brews a wide variety of types of beers: their main beer is Via Emilia, a Keller Pils.

Duvel Moortgat, founded in 1871 by Jan-Leonard Moortgat and managed by fourth generation descendant Michel Moortgat, is one of the fastest growing brewing groups in Europe. The group encompasses 10 breweries: Duvel Brewery in Puurs/Belgium, Rodinný Pivovar Bernard in Humpolec/Czech Republic (acquired 2001), Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown/New York (acquired in 2003), Brasserie d’Achouffe in Houffalize/Belgium (acquired 2006), Brouwerij Liefmans in Oudenaarde/Belgium (acquired 2008), Brouwerij De Koninck in Antwerp/Belgium (acquired 2010), Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City/Missouri (acquired 2013), Firestone Walker Brewing Company in Paso Robles/California (acquired 2015), Brouwerij 't IJ in Amsterdam/Netherlands (acquired 2015) and now Birrificio del Ducato in Roncole Verdi/Italy (acquired in December 2016 but announced in July 2017).

The press release, which was published earlier, quotes Michel Moortgat as follows: “We share the same values and we believe that quality, craftsmanship and innovation are the best basis for long-term success. We will bring our experience built up over multiple generations to supporting Birrificio del Ducato and together we aim to ensure that these specialty beers can be enjoyed in the rest of the world as well. Italy is renowned for their delicacies and we want to make our own contribution to allowing the rest of the world to discover the exceptional beers of Birrificio del Ducato."

Manuel Piccoli and Giovanni Campari are quoted as saying. "For brewers worldwide, it is important to be able to build further towards the future with unfailing devotion and vision. The brewers at Duvel Moortgat are passionately committed to their beers and have a true mastery of the craft."

In an open letter to their beer fans, Giovanni Campari and Manuel Piccoli shared the following thoughts:

"Birrificio del Ducato is like a child to us, born from a vision, a passion, a dream. After a long period of being active in Birrificio del Ducato, in the course of essentially 10 years of sacrifice, struggle and financial investment, which was also accompanied by respect and recognition in the artisan beer industry, we received a number of proposals from various large beer companies. Each time, we rejected the proposals because we knew that they would never be able to support our philosophy. Beer never turned out to be their priority - they could only talk about the profits. They never mentioned the importance of partnership in projects based on concern for quality, innovation and improvement of brewing methods and techniques."

"We therefore made a very conscious choice for Duvel Moortgat because they are different. Duvel Moortgat is guided by its family values and for that reason, they never asked us to take a different course with regard to our beer production, brand positioning or commercial attitude. Michel Moortgat instantly understood and shared our vision and values, without any need for explanation or persuasion. What's more, we've always had respect and admiration for the fantastic quality of the breweries that belong to the Duvel Moortgat family. Some of them have been a tremendous inspiration for us from the start. Now we can look ahead to the future with optimism and hope, with a partner like Duvel Moortgat who shares our vision, passion and dreams."

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