Here is the official press release:
Duvel Moortgat Acquires 100% Stake in Brewery Ommegang; Assumes Distribution Responsibilities for Duvel Along the Eastern Seaboard.
In a joint release - Michel Moortgat, Director General of Duvel Moortgat, Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield, Co-Founders of Brewery Ommegang and Proprietors of Vanberg & DeWulf announce that they have concluded negotiations that result in a complete transfer of Ommegang stock to Duvel Moortgat and the distribution rights for Duvel held by Vanberg & DeWulf in the eastern seaboard to the Belgian brewer. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
"This is the perfect outcome of the more than twenty year relationship between our families." acknowledged Don Feinberg, who began importing Duvel to the United States in 1982 and established Ommegang in 1997. "We are very proud of the role we have played in introducing Americans to the extraordinary world of Belgian beers, beginning with Duvel, the first Belgian beer that I fell in love with as a graduate student in Brussels. We are excited that this commitment of Duvel Moortgat's resources will enable both Duvel and Ommegang to reach their full potential in the United States.
Wendy Littlefield added "Duvel Moortgat will be operating in two of the most dynamic sectors of the US beer market today - namely specialty Belgian imports, and domestic, bottle-conditioned artisan ales. This is a winning combination. With Duvel and Ommegang together, they can build understanding and appreciation for these remarkably complex and rewarding beers."
Michel Moortgat explains "We view the United States as a priority market. Duvel is already one of the top two specialty imports from Belgium in this country and it enjoys an exceptional reputation for quality. We have been involved with Ommegang since its inception, and we possess the resources and the willingness to invest and develop the marketplace for both Duvel and Ommegang. We are excited to be building on the strong foundation that was created by Don and Wendy's work. Added Laurent Demuynck, Ommegang's new President and head of Duvel Moortgat USA, There is no question that the market for Belgian beers in general, and top-fermented specialty ales made in Belgium and the United States is ripe for development. As the market leader in this sector in Belgium, with twenty years experience in exporting, and as investors in Ommegang from the start we feel uniquely well suited to the task.
Duvel Moortgat is the fifth largest brewery in Belgium selling over 2,752,000 cases annually. It is the absolute market leader in Belgian brewing in terms of profitability, and Duvel is the nation's best-selling specialty beer. Jan Leonard Moortgat established the brewery in 1871. The fourth generation of Moortgats is now at the helm. The company's importers into the United States are Vanberg & DeWulf (to be replaced by Duvel Moortgat USA) for the eastern seaboard, and Belukus Marketing Inc., based in Austin, Texas, for the rest of the country. The consolidation of assets in the United States follows similar moves in other export markets in recent years, including The Netherlands and France. Additionally in June 1999 Duvel Moortgat acquired a 50% stake in Brewery Bernard in the Czech Republic. Duvel Moortgat is listed on the Euronext-Brussels stock exchange (symbol: DUV)
The Ommegang brewery, operating out of Cooperstown, New York, is selling its Ommegang, Hennepin and Rare Vos brands nationally. Don and Wendy will consult for Ommegang during the transition, and will continue to operate their import company Vanberg & DeWulf, representing artisan ales made by independent family-run breweries in Belgium and France