Commercial Director, Westmalle
I graduated as Commercial Engineer at the Catholic University Leuven in ’92 and started my career in Marketing Ice Cream at Unilever Belgium. Within this Anglo-Dutch multinational in FMCG I held several responsibilities in Marketing, Sales, Category Management and Operations, both in Belgium and abroad (France), both in Food and Home & Personal Care. Before taking my first professional steps in the beer category, I was active in Marketing at Neuhaus Chocolates and Novartis OTC. Eventually in 2010 I joined ABInBev in Leuven where I was first responsible for the Belgian Category Management team in Off-Trade. During this period I realized with my team several projects with the key Belgian retailers focused on driving the beer category growth (range optimization, 2nd placements, shelf optimization,…). A few years later I got the opportunity to lead the pack and product innovation agenda as European Innovation Director, bringing successful novelties like Jupiler 0.0%, Jupiler cold can, Franziskaner NA and Bud Light to selected European markets. After a side-step in the agricultural business, where I was Sales Director Belgium for John Deere during 4.5 years, I came back to my beloved beer business as Commercial Director at the Trappist Brewery of Westmalle.
Westmalle Brewery (Brouwerij der Trappisten van Westmalle) is one of the remaining 5 Trappist Breweries in Belgium and 10 in the world, based at the Westmalle Abbey near Antwerp. We brew only three beers (Extra at 4.8%, Dubbel at 7% and Tripel at 9.5%), which are designated as Trappist beer by the International Trappist Association. This means that our beers meet 3 strict criteria :
- All beers must be brewed within the immediate surroundings of the abbey;
- Production must be carried out under the supervision of the monks;
- Profits should be intended for the needs of the monastic community, for purposes of solidarity within the Trappist Order, or for development projects and charitable works
Our Westmalle Tripel, created in 1936 is the mother of all tripel beers, credited with being the first golden strong pale ale to use the term Tripel.
Our beers can be found all over the world, however we focus primarily on our domestic market (+/-65%) and close key EU markets and the USA. Our brew capacity is limited to +/- 130.000 HL with no intention to grow, which is the strong vision of the monks, that are our sole owner. Next to the brewery, there is also a cheese workshop, a bakery and a farm located within the walls of the same abbey, with in total 55 FTE’s. (see also https://www.trappistwestmalle.be/)