Pabst Brewing Co., America’s largest independent brewer, has named Simon Thorpe CEO. The appointment became effective Dec. 1. Eugene Kashper, current chairman and CEO, will remain full-time chairman of the board and continue to play an active role in the business. There will be a 60-day transition period between Kashper and Thorpe to ensure a smooth handover.
Thorpe previously was president and CEO of Duvel Moortgat USA, where he led the transformation of the company’s U.S. craft brewing business into a leader in the craft beer segment. 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, Missouri, and Firestone Walker Brewing Co. in Paso Robles, California. Thorpe also led the development of Duvel Moortgat’s import brand portfolio, including Duvel, La Chouffe, Liefmans and Mardesous. Over a 30-year career Thorpe also has served as head of M&A/strategy for InBev, president and CEO of Inbev USA and previously held positions with Crayola, Kellogg’s, Tambrands and Unilever.
“We are thrilled to have Simon join the Pabst team,” said Kashper. “He is both a true beer industry visionary and a highly respected operator. 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.
“I look forward to working closely with Simon to brew great beers and serve our loyal customers. We 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.”
Thorpe added, “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 company already has a vibrant culture and is filled with exceptionally talented people. The chance to join Eugene and the team at this particular time in the company’s evolution is all that one could wish for. I am truly excited about what we can accomplish together.”
Thorpe, his wife Kati and their son Henry will relocate to Los Angeles, where Pabst is headquartered.