Alumnus in the hot seat: Tom de Lepper
Do you sometimes wonder what happened to your colleague alumni? Which path they chose to follow, or still follow? Or literally, where on earth they are working? After your study, you swarmed off in all directions and that is why you sometimes lose sight of your fellow alumni. Fortunately, often after years, one way or another they show up again. You might even find them back in this column!
In this edition: Tom de Lepper
Tom de Lepper (NHTV IHM 2010-2012)
Founder Stadsbrouwerij de Maastrichter Maltezer
Starting from my first job as a 13-year-old dishwasher, I already knew I wanted to stay in the hospitality industry. Eventually, from the dishes, I moved to the kitchen, waiting tables and ultimately, I worked as a manager for various restaurants. In 2007 I was able to start the accelerated trajectory "Horeca-entrepreneur" at Rooi Pannen in Tilburg and later I moved on to NHTV in Breda. I completed both courses in 2.5 years and that's how I graduated at NHTV in 2012.
I spent my NHTV management internship at staffing agency Mise en Place where I became Personal Assistant to the CEO. Being the PA, I saw many different companies, countries, cultures and ways of doing business (Mis en Place has 70 locations in 6 different countries). I soon understood that one can do a lot of business if you create a lot of (business) friends. It is not about what you know, but who you know.
After my time as a PA, I was able to work for the 4Hospitality Service Center. They are the organiser of HotelloTOP, the networking event for Hotel School alumni. I became responsible for sales and because the organisation runs its events on sponsoring, I visited over 200 sponsors, from the Hilton hotels to suppliers of snacks. With over 15,000 connections and events throughout Europe, I have been able to build my own network here. One of the events was the exhibition concept "The Knowledge Center for Beer" that we host at Gastvrij Rotterdam in Ahoy Rotterdam. I brought together owners of cafés, bars and restaurants with the owners of breweries and started to expand my network in the beer world.
In the meanwhile, I kept dreaming about my own business and when the news came that the former Ridder Brewery in Maastricht was put up for sale again after years of partial demolition and neglect, I no longer doubted; this is the place where my love for hospitality and beer can come together. De Ridder Brewery is best known for the ‘Wieckse Witte’ beer that they first brewed here in 1990.
In June 2018 the doors of my own business opened for the first time; “Stadsbrouwerij de Maastrichter Maltezer”. The concept hosts three outlets: a microbrewery, a beer shop and a brasserie where we focus on beer and food pairing. Currently, we brew following the old recipe of “De Ridder Maltezer” craftbeer from 1954.
When Heineken closed De Ridder in 2002, they decided to only continue with Wieckse Witte and as a consequence, the so popular De Ridder Maltezer beer disappeared. Now, 17 years after closing, the beer is back on the market. We asked the people of Maastricht if they wanted to determine the taste with us. Therefore, we brewed 18 versions of De Maltezer. The tasters wrote down their opinion about every batch of beer and the chosen winner became the definitive version of our beer.
Drinking for charity
If your beer brand is associated with a knightly order in Malta then you should do something with it. Accordingly, we have visited the Mediterranean island state several times and decided to set up a cooperation so that a donation per litre of beer goes to the Maltese Order. They help people and children worldwide in poverty or emergency situations. For this we can use the official Maltese cross on our expressions and we’ll contribute to make the world a better place.
Furthermore, we also wanted to fight poverty in Maastricht. And here comes in our second beer, which is called “The Royal Martinus”, named after a Martinus from Maastricht who is willing to give a yearly donation to the brewery. We, as a brewery, double this donation and via a charity organisation, we are able to invite people over for lunch or dinner in our restaurant who normally cannot afford it. In future, if we are able to match 7 persons to our 7 beers, we will be able to host two families per week and year-round. After all, beer and hospitality is for everyone!
Tom de Lepper, Doemens Diplom Beer Sommelier
De Maastrichter Malthezer in facts & figures
• 60 seats inside
• 80 seats on the terrace
• 16 draft beers
• 70 beers by bottle
• Lunch | Drinks | Dinner
• 200+ international craft beers
• Growler filling station
• 2 beers up-and running, 5 to come
• 30.000 liters per year
•m3.000 pax in brewery tours per year
• 5 fulltimers
• 20 flex workers
Monday 16.00h – 23.00h
Wednesday to Sunday 11.00h – 23.00h