Belle Brewery merges with the new Belgian brand under the ownership of Keren
Another one of the largest craft breweries in America was sold out. This time, Bell Brewery in Michigan, who will join Fort Collins brewing new belgium As part of a group of beer brands nested within the Australian-based beer giant Lion, which in turn is owned by Japan’s Kirin Corporation, an international conglomerate.
Founded in 1985, Bell’s beers—such as Two Hearted Ale and Oberon Ale—are routinely listed among the best-selling and most popular brews around the country. The beer was in high demand then when Bell finally began distributing in Colorado in 2018, making headlines statewide.
“This decision ultimately came down to two specific factors,” Larry Bell, founder of Bell Corporation, said in a statement on November 9. “First, the people at New Belgium share our unwavering commitment to the craft of brewing and the community-first way to build our business.
“Second, it was the right time. I’ve been doing this for over 36 years and recently battled some serious health issues. I want everyone who loves this company as much as I do to know that we’ve found a partner who truly appreciates our great beer company, our culture, and the importance of our roots Here in Michigan.”
new belgium, Bought by Lion/Kirin in 2019He was equally excited. “At Biels, we see a group of like-minded people,” New Belgium CEO Steve Fechheimer said in the same statement. “We couldn’t be happier to welcome the entire Bell team. Joining together immediately will enhance and expand our ability to serve and expand the craft community, deliver more value to our partners, and continue to redefine how business is done in a world facing historic economic, social and environmental challenges.”
The merger would give the combined company some of the best-selling beer in America and more leverage with supermarkets, grocery stores, liquor stores, convenience stores and other beer retail outlets. But this may also make it more difficult for small and medium-sized breweries to sell in those outlets.
At the end of 2020, Bell was the seventh largest brewery in the country and the 16th largest brewery overall, according to the Association of Brewers (BA). New Belgium was the fourth largest brewery in the country at the time of its sale to Kirin.
The acquisition also means that Bell’s will no longer be considered a “craft brewer” by the BA, the nation’s largest trade association for craft breweries. New Belgium lost its place there in 2018, as well as its membership in the Guild of Colorado Brewers, which follows BA guidelines.
Bell’s executive vice president, Carrie Juncker, who heads the day-to-day operations at the brewery, will now report to the new Belgian Fechheimer, while New Belgium will oversee Bell’s 550 employees.