Bell's Brewery announces sale to Australian-based, Founder Larry Bell retiring

Posted at 12:20 PM, Nov 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-10 12:20:28-05

Michigan-based Bell's Brewery is being sold, and Founder & President Larry Bell is retiring, according to an email sent out to Bell's Customers.

The brewery is being sold to Australian-based company Lion, which acquired Colorado's New Belgium Brewing in 2019.

"I'm so proud of what we've been able to accomplish together," Bell said in a release. "From our wonderful fans, to the amazing team that has helped share our beer with the world, to the ways we've been able to invest in causes we believe in – this has been an absolutely incredible journey."

Bell's, which makes popular beers like Two Hearted and Oberon, was founded in 1985 by Bell in Kalamazoo. It is Michigan's largest independent brewery.

Bell said there were two factors that went into it. He said New Belgium shared the brewery's commitment to craft brewing, and that it was the right time.

"I've been doing this for more than 36 years and recently battled some serious health issues. I want everyone who loves this company like I do to know we have found a partner that truly values our incredible beer, our culture, and the importance of our roots here in Michigan," he said.

Bell's also owns Upper Hand Brewery, which is based in Escanaba.

Both Bell's and New Belgium will remain separate brands, and the sale is expected to close in the coming months.

There is expected to be no changes to Bell's current beers, and day-to-day operations will remain in Kalamazoo and Comstock.

"In Bell's, we see a likeminded group of people dedicated to making the world's best beer – doing business in a way that improves the wellbeing of the people who power our success," New Belgium CEO Steve Fechheimer said in a release, a Michigan native and longtime Bell's drinker. "We couldn't be happier to welcome the entire Bell's team. Joining together will immediately strengthen our ability to serve and expand the craft community, deliver more value for our partners, and continue to redefine how business is done in a world facing historic economic, social, and environmental challenges. Personally, I can't wait to celebrate Oberon Day in 2022!"

"We are thrilled to be taking this next step in the United States, bringing these two great names in craft brewing together," said Matt Tapper, Managing Director of Lion's global craft beverages business. "We look forward to continuing to support both Bell's and New Belgium in this next phase of growth."