Simon Thorpe now Managing Director for Lion’s North American Craft Beer Business
Last we wrote about Simon Thorpe, he was leaving the CEO post at Pabst, back in September 2018.
Now, Simon has been named to the newly created position of Managing Director for Lion’s emerging North American craft beer business. Lion, an Australian-based giant in beer, wine and dairy, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kirin.
The Lion team is responsible for spearheading investment in craft brewing around the world for Kirin. It has been focused on international craft since 2015. Most recently, the company acquired UK craft brewery, Fourpure, last summer, and fellow UK brewer Magic Rock just earlier this year.
Simon, who will be based in Los Angeles, will help bring such efforts to North America. Simon is a known deal maker; before his tenure at Pabst, and his almost decade leading Duvel Moortgat USA, during which time they acquired Boulevard and Firestone Walker, Simon was Head of Global
M&A and Strategy for InBev.
He’ll now report to Managing Director of Lion Global Markets, Matt Tapper.
“I am pleased Simon has decided to join Lion on its journey to build its craft beer presence in the United States,” Matt said. “We are working quickly and with determination to create a US company that capitalises on the continued growth of craft, and the changing needs of customers and consumers. Simon’s experience and leadership in this field will be invaluable in achieving our goals.”
They’ve already seeded some action in and around the U.S.: “In 2017, Lion began importing its leading Australian craft beer, Little Creatures, into the North American market where distribution has since expanded to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC and Vancouver,” per announcement. In fact, Little Creatures will open a microbrewery and restaurant in San Francisco this summer, with its own beers, besides “a range of its craft beers imported from Australia.”
For his part, Simon said that the US craft beer market is currently at a “very important stage of development.
“Achieving a leading position in this highly fragmented and dynamic market depends on the strength and flexibility of brands, robust and truly effective brewing and distribution networks, transforming innovation
capabilities beyond what we have been used to in craft and collaborative partnerships of scale, so that breweries can respond to the next generation of consumers. I look forward to helping build on Lion’s authentic brewing culture, their depth of experience from around the world and their
tremendous resources and capabilities to create a leading platform for our brands and partners in North America and fulfill our goal of becoming a major US Craft company.”
Also noteworthy: The company said Simon will also work alongside Steve Myers, Managing Director of Lion’s North American Wine Business, Distinguished Vineyards & Wine Partners.
Jenn, Jordan, and Harry
“To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first, and call whatever you hit the target.” – Ashleigh Brilliant
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