Home > Bells Brewery - Kalamazoo and Comstock, Michigan
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
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.
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.