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Bell's founder Larry Bell to retire, sell company

Fritz Klug
Bell's Brewery

Kalamazoo brewery Bell’s will soon come under new ownership. Founder Larry Bell announced Wednesday that he is retiring and selling the company. Australian based brewer Lion will purchase Bell's. Lion acquired New Belgium Brewing in 2019. In a video message Bell says he made the decision after what he calls a “couple of health issues,” that changed his outlook. 

"In discussions with the board of directors of Bell's, and the other owner of Bell's, Laura Bell, the decision has been made to sell the company. That decision was based on my health and what would be the best thing for the employees."

Bell’s launched in Kalamazoo in 1985. According to a news release, the combination of Bell's and New Belgium will be at the top U.S. craft beer market in sales volume and growth. Bell said New Belgium shares many of his company's values.

"I know that they have a commitment to safety, that they have a commitment to philanthropy in the community, they have a commitment to sustainability and the environment, and I know that they love to make great, quality beer"

Bell's Executive Vice President Carrie Yunker said the sale will not affect employees' jobs or the company's operations.

"Really what this means is more opportunity. Joining with New Belgium immediately puts us at the top of the US craft beer market, so we’re really excited about this," she said. 

Bell's has declined to share the terms of the sale. 

Disclosure: Bell's Brewery is a WMUK underwriter.

Gordon Evans became WMUK's Content Director in 2019 after more than 20 years as an anchor, host and reporter. A 1990 graduate of Michigan State, he began work at WMUK in 1996.
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