Celebrating mastery since 1871
Driven by quality and passionate people
Duvel Moortgat is an independent family of authentic craft breweries, determined to occupy a leading position in specialty beers.
The fourth generation of the Moortgat family has invested constantly in the brewery with the aim of maintaining and even improving the high quality. This concern for quality is inextricably linked to a passion for the brewer’s trade.
Striving for perfection
Quality, craftsmanship and a pioneering spirit are the cornerstones of our family business
Passed down over more than four generations
150 years of quality and passion
In 1871, Jan-Leonard Moortgat, the son of a brewers’ family from Steenhuffel, founded the Moortgat farm brewery together with his wife Maria De Block. At that time, the newcomer was just one of the 4,000 breweries active in Belgium at the turn of the century.
Initially things were not particularly easy: in the first pioneering years, Jan-Leonard tried to market a number of high-fermentation beers such as Stavelot. With varying degrees of success.
Thanks to a combination of enthusiasm, a passion for brewing and craftsmanship, however, Jan-Leonard gradually built up a loyal client base, not just in the area around Breendonk, but even as far away as Brussels, by selling beer to the bourgeoisie. This is evident from the opening of a warehouse in Laeken. The start, as it turned out, of a success, Albert & Victor story that has now lasted for over 150 years...
The second Moortgat generation
In the meantime, business boomed and Jan-Leonard’s two sons, Albert and Victor, joined the firm.
The jobs were clearly distributed: Albert became the brewer while Victor took care of deliveries to Brussels by horse and cart. The First World War brought Belgium into contact with England and in particular English ales, which enjoyed considerable popularity during this period.
1918 - 1923
The prelude to a successful product
Albert decided to be part of the English ales success story too and develop a beer based on the English model. However, a sample of local yeast was essential to create an ale like this.
So Albert went to Scotland, where at first he encountered a lot of resistance from local brewers. It was only after a real odyssey among local breweries that he eventually got his hands on the coveted sample. Yeast from this same source is still used today!
The launch of Duvel
Mindful of the end of the First World War, the new beer was originally called ‘Victory Ale’. However, a shoemaker called Van De Wouwer had other ideas when he tasted it: He described the beer as "een echte Duvel" (a real devil).
Divine inspiration? From 1923 onwards, the beer was marketed under this name – no mean feat in the Catholic Flanders of the time. Production began slowly with just a few crates in 1923. The big breakthrough came in the 1970s when, thanks to a well thought-out marketing strategy, more and more people began to discover and appreciate the qualities of this unique beer.
Real enthusiasts may well know that there is also a variant of the classic red Duvel, called green Duvel. This was created in the 1960s for the Gentse Feesten or Ghent Festival, where there was a demand for a lighter beer.
As a tribute to its successful beer, when the group was listed on the stock market in 1999 its name was changed from Moortgat brewery to Duvel Moortgat.
Creation of Bel Pils
Bel Pils, Duvel Moortgat’s luxury Pilsner, went through a turbulent period of name changes. It was created in 1930 as Extra Blond.
From 1976 to 1991 Bel Pils was known as Extra Pilsner, before being given its final name in 1991.
With its bitter taste, Bel Pils is one of the most authentic and traditional Belgian Pilsners. The beer owes its typical character to the use of Saaz hops.
The Vedett story
A third big name in the brewery appeared in 1945 - the premium beer Vedett. Originally this beer was one of the many Export beers that were popular at the time.
However, in 1965 Vedett was given the name it bears today. Initially Vedett was found mainly in a number of local pubs around the brewery.
Following its growing success in trendy pubs, in 2003 the most eccentric of the Duvel Moortgat beers was given its own sales team and site. This resulted in a modernized, trendy and slightly absurd image that gave the beer renewed momentum.
1950 - 1980
Third Moortgat generation
From the 1950s onwards, the third generation of Moortgats took over at the helm: Bert and Marcel Moortgat and the two brothers Leon and Emile Moortgat.
In the 1980s, Ben Gevaert also joined the group. Under their impetus, the brewery was further developed both technically and commercially.
Licence and start of production of Maredsous abbey beers
When Maredsous Abbey wanted to improve the quality of its beers, it sought out a worthy successor for the task. On the advice of the Catholic University of Leuven, it turned to the Moortgat brewery, renowned for its craftsmanship and high quality beers.
Under a licence for the ‘Fromagerie et Brasserie de Maredsous’ and under the strict supervision of the monks, from then on Duvel Moortgat was to brew, bottle and sell the Maredsous range: a blond beer with an alcohol content of 6%, a brown variant with a alcohol content of 8% and a triple with an alcohol content of 10% which was added in 1990.
Creation of the Duvel glass
Despite its many imitators, Duvel is and remains unique.
For instance, the Duvel glass, created in the late 1960s, was the first tulip-shaped tasting glass. Among other things, the new glass had to be able to take a full 33 cl bottle. Until then, there were no beer glasses of this format.
The glass is designed specifically to ensure a more complete beer experience: the spherical shape releases the heavenly flavour and aroma of Duvel to full effect. Moreover, the glass narrows towards the top, which helps retain the carbon dioxide and hence the head. The liquid and head can also be more equally distributed in the same glass, whereas with a traditional glass the froth is only produced as the beer is poured.
An engraving on the bottom of the Duvel glass contributes towards the typical effervescence of the Duvel beer and helps support the head. One interesting detail: in the old Duvel glasses, the engraving consisted of a small scratch, but in the modern glasses it is a ‘D’, the first letter of the Duvel logo!
Listing on the Brussels Euronext
By 1999, the former family farm brewery had expanded to become one of the biggest Belgian brewery groups. To speed up growth and ensure continuity, the company was listed on the Brussels stock exchange.
As from June 2002, Duvel Moortgat was part of the NextPrime segment that represents companies from traditional economic sectors. By opting to be listed on NextPrime, Duvel Moortgat undertook to abide by strict rules on liquidity and disclosure. This meant that Duvel Moortgat was able to guarantee its investors financial transparency in line with the most exacting international requirements.
Beginning of Duvel's international expansion
In the mid-1970s the brewery gradually left most Belgian family businesses behind. Moortgat beers established a name and reputation abroad, as well, largely thanks to Duvel.
The first export initiatives inevitably followed, initially in the Netherlands and shortly afterwards in Belgium’s other neighbouring countries. Today the beer is available all over the world.
50% holding in Czech brewery Bernard
As the birthplace of the Pilsner beer and the country with the largest per capital beer consumption (160 l/inhabitant), the Czech Republic is an attractive market on which to continue Duvel Moortgat’s international expansion. Duvel Moortgat is convinced that mature Pilsner markets offer the most growth potential for specialty beers. Moreover, the country is a suitable operating base from which to conquer Central Europe.
Duvel Moortgat found an appropriate partner in the form of the Czech brewery Bernard, a major niche player in premium Pilsner beers. Thanks to the exchange of know-how and experience in the fields of production and marketing, Bernard is now more clearly positioned as a brewer of premium beers. Today Bernard beers are available in most of the national supermarket chain stores and in a number of leading hotel and catering outlets.
100% in American brewery Ommegang and the distribution rights for the East Coast of the United States
As more and more Americans were learning to appreciate Belgian beers, in 2003 Duvel Moortgat consolidated its presence in the United States. The group increased its stake in Belâme (Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown) to 100%. It also acquired the Duvel distribution rights for the East Coast from Vanberg & Dewulf.
At the same time, a local American sales and distribution team was set up. With Duvel Moortgat USA Ltd., the group is present in 45 states. Brewery Belâme is known above all for the specialty beers Ommegang, Ommegang Witte, Hennepin, Rare Vos and Three Philosophers: high-fermentation American craft specialty beers, brewed in the best Belgian tradition. The group therefore operates in the two most dynamic beer segments in the United States: the Belgian specialty beers import market and local craft beers.
Achouffe beers further complete portfolio
Brasserie d’Achouffe brews, bottles and markets various specialty beers, the most well-known of which are the blond La Chouffe and the dark Mc Chouffe in the typical 75 cl bottle.
The story begins in the late 1970s, in the middle of the Vallée des Fées (the Valley of the Fairies), when two brothers-in-law, Pierre Gobron and Chris Bauweraerts decided to create their own beer in the garage belonging to Chris’ mother-in-law. With the little money they had at the time, they began what the brewery’s fans now call the “Chouffe Story”. The 1st brew of 49 litres was produced on 27 August 1982.
The Ardennes brewery was taken over by Duvel Moortgat in September 2006.
Specialty beer range expanded with Liefmans
The rich history of Liefmans Brewery dates back to 1679. Around 1750 brewer Jacobus Liefmans selected these fertile soils of Oudenaarde, where the banks of the river Scheldt provide natural nourishment for unique Liefmans beers. Liefmans flourished thanks to the talents of master brewer Rosa Merckx. As the first – and for many years also the only – female master brewer, she added finesse and gusto to the Belgian beer culture for 46 years.
On 24 June 2008, Duvel Moortgat took over the activities of the bankrupt companies Brouwerij Liefmans n.v. and Liefmans Breweries n.v. from Oudenaarde.
By doing so, it acquired a substantial proportion of these companies’ assets, including all the brand names and recipes.
Takeover of Brouwerij De Koninck group
On 5 August 2010, all the shares in the Brouwerij De Koninck group were acquired.
Brouwerij De Koninck brews and markets the strong ‘Bolleke Koninck’ brand, among others. The group includes the companies Brouwerij De Koninck nv, Padeko nv, Konifi nv, Gildenhuis Wilrijk nv, Brouwerij De Valk nv and Verlinden-Peeraer nv.
Michel Moortgat Manager of the Year
Michel Moortgat was named Manager of the Year 2010.
The Trends jury reported: "The jury attaches a great deal of importance to the lasting nature of the candidates. Michel Moortgat corresponds perfectly to this profile”, said the chairman of the jury, explaining the choice. He went on: "Duvel Moortgat has proved to be very crisis-resistant. The company has the strategy of developing strong brands to thank for these results. Quality takes precedence over volume."
Welcoming Boulevard brewing C°
In 2014 the Duvel Moortgat beer range was further enhanced by the specialty beers of the Boulevard Brewing Company from Kansas City, USA. The brewery was founded in 1984 and successfully build by John McDonald.
Back in 1984, one of the beers that so captivated John’s imagination was Duvel, among the most famous and iconic beers of all time. So when John was approached by Michel Moortgat, president and fourth generation leader of Duvel Moortgat, he listened. In 2014, Boulevard became part of the Duvel Moortgat family, a collection of artisanal breweries dedicated to the highest expression of the brewers’ art.
Introduction of Firestone Walker Brewery (California)
Born in a humble shed on the back-forty of the family vineyard, Firestone Walker is a California beer company like no other - founded by two brothers-in-law who simply wanted to make the perfect beer. The story begins with Adam Firestone (a.k.a. The Bear) and David Walker (a.k.a. The Lion) debating the subject of beer. Their search for a decent local ale proved futile, and it wasn’t long before they had goaded themselves into brewing their own. The year 2021 marks the 25th anniversary of the brewery.
In 2015 Duvel Moortgat became a shareholder in the Firestone Walker Brewing Company from Paso Robles, California. Firestone Walker is the 16th largest craft beer brewery in the United States and the fourth largest in California.
Duvel Moortgat exits the stock exchange
The family shareholders want to prioritize the long-term strategy and will leave Euronext Brussels in March 2013. The stock has been trading there since June 1999.
150 years Duvel Moortgat
Together with our company partners, clients, employees and beer fans the Duvel Moortgat family brewery celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2021. This momentum was marked with the launch of a new beer: Duvel 6,66%.
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the fourth generation family brewery, we looked for a recipe that would be both accessible and full-bodied. Duvel 6,66% is an accessible beer with typical Duvel punch. Brewed with the finest ingredients and with the characteristic refermentation in the bottle. Heavenly soft in taste, slightly aromatic and refreshingly fruity due the use of 6 refined hop varieties.
Brouwerij 't IJ from Amsterdam joins the family
Brouwerij 't IJ from Amsterdam has been brewing craft beers since 1985 and has grown considerably in recent years due to the increasing demand from the Dutch catering and retail sector.
't IJ wants to continue to meet its growing demand without losing its Amsterdam character. To support the rapid growth, the brewery has chosen to work with a strong partner.
According to the Amsterdam brewer, Duvel can offer a lot of support in the field of brewing technology and distribution.
Collaboration with Birrificio Del Ducato
The collaboration between the Belgian family brewery Duvel Moortgat and the Italian brewery Birrificio del Ducato is being strengthened. In December 2016, Duvel Moortgat took an initial minority stake in the Italian brewery.
In 2018, the family brewery acquires a majority share of 70%. Duvel Moortgat will continue to support Birrificio del Ducato in order to realize the ambitions of the Ducato beers and to stimulate further international growth.
With respect for the beers and traditions, there will be close cooperation between the Belgian and Italian teams.
Duvel Moortgat keeps growing steadily
Even despite the continued impact of Covid in 2021, Duvel Moortgat was still successful in continuing its growth compared to 2019. Revenue of EUR 505 million was achieved.
In 2021, a combined total of 2.2 million hectoliters (HL) of beer were brewed across the different breweries in the group. The United States (0.8 million HL) and Belgium (0.5 million HL) are our biggest markets.