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Parent company of Cooperstown brewery has new president

By Eric Reinhardt (


Seraf De Smedt (Photo credit: Duvel USA)

Duvel USA — the parent company of Brewery Ommegang of Cooperstown —announced Seraf De Smedt will take over as president of the U.S. organization effective immediately.

De Smedt has served as the chief finance and administration officer for Duvel Moortgat since December 2013.

Duvel Moortgat is a fourth-generation, family-owned craft brewery based in Puurs-Sint-Amands, Belgium. The company owns and operates 10 breweries in the U.S. and Europe, including Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown.

With the transition to his new role, he will work closely with the U.S.-based leadership team while continuing to oversee the global-finance team for Duvel Moortgat.

John McDonald, founder of Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City, who stepped in as interim president for Duvel USA in late January, will return to retirement with this transition.

De Smedt will split his time between Belgium and the U.S. The U.S. leadership team will oversee daily operations for the U.S. breweries and national sales team. Leading those duties are company veterans Bobby Dykstra, executive VP of sales and marketing; Rick DeBar, general manager of Brewery Ommegang; Steven Pauwels, brewmaster of Boulevard; Dali Grabar, director of engineering for Boulevard; Julie Weeks, VP of communications and culture; and newcomer Stephanie Walker, director of human resources.

“The U.S. market has been a great passion of mine since joining Duvel Moortgat,” De Smedt said in a statement. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with my U.S. colleagues more closely. The beer and alcoholic beverage industries have never been more complex, which provides all of us the task of balancing our innovation and staying true to our heritage beers. I look forward to the adventures ahead and want to wholeheartedly thank John for the crucial role he played these past months. He leaves big shoes to fill, so I count on the entire leadership team to do so with me.”

Prior to joining Duvel Moortgat, De Smedt served as CFO at Lineas, a Belgian rail freight company between 2009 and 2013, and as associate principal at McKinsey & Company, a consultancy between 2001 and 2009. He started his career as a senior auditor at PwC, an auditing firm, between 1996 and 1999.