Michigan-based Bell’s Brewery acquired by New Belgium; Larry Bell retires

Brewery founded in 1985 in Kalamazoo

(From WDIV)

Kalamazoo-based Bell’s Brewery, one of the biggest craft beer makers in the Midwest, has been acquired by New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Bell’s founder Larry Bell, who also announced his retirement, announced the news in an open letter posted to the Bell’s website.

"I have made the decision to retire from the business that I have considered one of my best gifts in life, ever since I was an 18-year-old dreamer. When I started Bell’s, we were called Kalamazoo Brewing Company, a nod to our community’s original brewery that closed in 1915. I wanted to make a brewery that would last longer than us, for generations to come, like the great 500-year-old breweries in Germany – and I believe we have only begun on that path. But to keep Bell’s a strong and stable brewery for generations to come, we need someone to run it with the same energy and passion that I’ve had for these past decades.

That’s why this week, Bell’s finalized a sale agreement that will see us join forces with New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado. By bringing together two of the largest and fastest-growing craft brand families in the country and unifying our companies under a single business model, we’re creating one of the best and largest craft portfolios in the country. Under the terms of the deal, I am selling my stake in Bell’s to Lion, who acquired Colorado-based New Belgium in 2019.”

“As I make this announcement, I want to make two things very clear: First, Bell’s home is – and will remain – in Kalamazoo County. While I fully expect this alignment with New Belgium will result in countless new fans around the country and beyond, we are still a Michigan-based operation brewing (world-class) Michigan beer. Second, our values, our DNA and our dedication to this community will not change. If anything, our belief in positively impacting the world will only be strengthened through our work with New Belgium.”

Bell said that not much will change day-to-day for Bell’s with a new parent company.

Bell’s Brewery was first founded in 1985, and has been based in Kalamazoo, Michigan since then.

Related: Michigan’s beer industry chugs along: $9.9 billion to state’s economy

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.