Craft beer icon Bell’s Brewery acquired by global conglomerate


Bell’s Brewery, one of America’s most iconic craft breweries, is being acquired by a unit of global beverage conglomerate Kirin Group, adding to the beer industry’s long list of consolidation. these last years.

Founder Larry Bell, who started the brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1985, is retiring and announced Wednesday he is selling the company to Australia-based Lion Little World Beverages, which is owned by Japan’s Kirin 2503.
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The move will put Bell’s under the same corporate umbrella as Colorado-based New Belgium Brewery, which sold to Lion in 2019.

“This decision ultimately boiled down to two determining factors,” said Bell in a report. “First of all, the people of New Belgium share our unwavering commitment to the brewing profession and the way we have built our business by putting the community first. Second, it was the right time. I have been doing this for over 36 years and have recently struggled with some serious health issues. I want everyone who loves this business like me to know that we have found a partner who truly values ​​our amazing beer, our culture and the importance of our roots here in Michigan.

The price of the deal was not disclosed and no major changes or layoffs are expected at this time. “Beer drinkers should not expect any changes to current Bell beers,” the company added.

Bell Executive Vice President Carrie Yunker will continue to lead day-to-day operations and report to New Belgium Managing Director Steve Fechheimer.

“At Bell’s, we see a group of like-minded people dedicated to making the best beer in the world – doing business in a way that enhances the well-being of the people who fuel our success,” said Fechheimer in a statement. “We couldn’t be happier to welcome the entire Bell team.

Bell’s is best known for its Dual-Core IPA, which in 2020 was named America’s best beer for the fourth year in a row by the American Homebrewers Association’s Zymurgy magazine. That same survey ranked Bell’s Hopslam the No. 5 beer and Bell’s as America’s best brewery.

After years of prosperity and rapid expansion in the late 2000s, the craft beer industry has contracted sharply over the past decade, suffering from oversaturated markets, slower sales and competition. coarse seltzer. Lion bought Fat Tire maker New Belgium almost two years ago for an undisclosed price, and Japan’s Sapporo Holdings Ltd. 2501,
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bought San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing, which touted itself as America’s oldest craft brewer, in 2017 for around $ 85 million. In 2019, Boston Beer Co. SAM,
bought Delaware’s Dogfish Head Brewery for approximately $ 300 million, and Anheuser-Busch InBev SA BUD,

bought Kona Brewing Co. and Redhook Brewery in a deal valued at more than $ 200 million.

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