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Bells Brewery - Kalamazoo and Comstock, Michigan

Bell's Brewery - Kalamazoo and Comstock, Michigan

Founded by Larry Bell as a home-brewing supply shop in 1983, Bell's Brewery, Inc. sold its first beer in September 1985. Beer was initially brewed in a 15-gallon soup kettle and the company has grown remarkably from its production of 135 barrels (1 bbl = 31 gal.) in 1986 to over 124,000 barrels in 2009. Originally self-distributed, Larry and his staff of 9 employees bottled and delivered all of the beer to market for the company's first four years. By 1989, Bell's was shipping over 500 barrels annually and assigned its first wholesaler to further establish itself across the State of Michigan. In 1993, Bell's became the first Michigan brewery to open an onsite pub.

In 2003, Bell's opened a new production brewery in nearby Comstock, Michigan. The new facility has now seen three major additions since then and encompasses over 60,000 square feet of building on a 24 acre site. Beers are now brewed on a 50-barrel system, with the operations running 24/7. With vessels ranging in size from 50-400 barrels, the fermentation cellar can hold up to 20,000 barrels at any given moment, allowing the brewery a total annual brewing capacity of 170,000 barrels.

Despite expansion at the main production facility, we haven't forgotten our roots, and we continue to brew at the original Kalamazoo location. Using the same equipment that served us so well for years, this space has become home to several specialty projects, as well as brewing an extensive array of brands typically only available at the adjoining Eccentric Café. Between the two brewing locations, the company currently employs over 100 people.

In the beginning of 2010, renovations to the downtown Kalamazoo facility began with plans to make significant improvements to the existing Café and transform former warehouse space into a separate, dedicated, and state-of-the-art music venue.

The Cafe officially reopened on March 28, 2011, allowing us to host musicians and other entertainment acts from across the country. Renovations also included expanded restrooms, additional seating options, a transformed Beer Garden, a new patio and a new main entry way.

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The Bell’s Farm

Our 80-acre farm in Shepherd, Michigan, is located about an hour and a half north of Kalamazoo and has been a part of Bell's since 2008.

It is not only an investment in Michigan agriculture but also reflects our commitment to quality. We grow 2-row barley that is used in Midwestern Pale Ale, Christmas Ale and our Harvest Ale. Once harvested, the barley is then roasted and kilned by Briess Malt & Ingredients Co.

Between our four locations, including our corporate office just down the street from our Comstock Brewery, Bell’s currently employs more than 200 people.

Upper Hand Brewery

On April 25, 2013, Upper Hand Brewery – a division of Bell’s Brewery, Inc. – was officially announced. This new project will be located in Escanaba, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where a variety of unique beers will be brewed and bottled for distribution across the UP as well as in adjacent northern states. It will open in 2014.

Bells Brewery - Kalamazoo, Michigan


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