Craft beer icon Bell’s Brewery bought from global corporation

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Bell’s Brewery, one of the best-known craft brewers in the USA, is being taken over by a unit of the global beverage company Kirin Group, adding to the long list of consolidation in the beer industry in recent years.

Founder Larry Bell, who founded the brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1985, is retiring and said on Wednesday that he is selling the company to Australian Lion Little World Beverages, owned by Japanese Kirin 2503, -6.23%.
The move will place Bell’s under the same corporate roof as Colorado-based New Belgium Brewery, which was sold to Lion in 2019.

“This decision was ultimately due to two critical factors,” Bell said in a statement. “Firstly, the people at New Belgium share our staunch dedication to the brewing trade and the community-minded way we have built our business. 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 company like me to know that we’ve found a partner who truly appreciates our incredible beer, our culture and the importance of our roots here in Michigan. “

The price of the deal has not been disclosed and no major changes or layoffs are anticipated for the time being. “Beer drinkers shouldn’t expect any changes to Bell’s current beers,” added the company.

Carrie Yunker, Executive Vice President of Bell, will continue to lead day-to-day operations reporting to Steve Fechheimer, Chief Executive of New Belgium.

“At Bell’s we see a like-minded group of people who are committed to making the best beer in the world – doing business in ways that improve the wellbeing of the people who drive our success,” Fechheimer said in a statement. “We are very happy to welcome the entire Bell team.”

Bell’s is best known for its Two Hearted IPA, which was named America’s Best Beer for the fourth year in a row in 2020 by the American Homebrewers Association’s Zymurgy magazine. The same poll rated Bell’s Hopslam as the No. 5 beer and Bell’s as the best brewery in America.

After booming years and rapid expansion in the late 2000s, the craft beer industry has retreated significantly over the past decade, suffering from oversaturated markets, slower sales and competition from tough seltzer. Lion bought New Belgium, the maker of Fat Tire, almost two years ago at an undisclosed price, and Japan’s Sapporo Holdings Ltd. 2501, -3.67% bought Anchor Brewing from San Francisco, which described itself as the oldest craft brewer in the USA in 2017 for around 85 million dollars. In 2019, Boston Beer Co. SAM bought -2.99% of Delaware Dogfish Head Brewery for approximately $ 300 million and Anheuser-Busch InBev SA BUD bought Kona Brewing Co. and Redhook Brewery for more than $ 200 million Dollar.

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