Who did Bell’s beer sell to?

Answered by Daniel Conrad

Bell's Brewery, a beloved craft institution in Michigan, has recently announced its sale to Lion, an Australian beer company, and its parent company, Kirin, a beer giant. This news marks a significant development in the industry, particularly for those who have been following the growth and impact of Bell's Brewery since its inception in the 1980s.

The decision to sell Bell's Brewery to Lion and Kirin is undoubtedly a strategic move that will likely have long-lasting implications for the company and its loyal fan base. While it may come as a surprise to some, it's important to understand the larger context of the craft beer landscape and the challenges faced by independent breweries in today's market.

Bell's Brewery has been at the forefront of the craft beer movement, known for its innovative and high-quality brews. Over the years, they have built a strong reputation and a dedicated following, particularly in the Chicago area. Many beer enthusiasts have fond memories of enjoying Bell's beers, such as Two Hearted and Oberon, at local bars and festivals.

The decision to sell to Lion and Kirin may raise concerns among fans who value the independence and local roots of craft breweries. However, it's important to note that Bell's will be operated under New Belgium , a well-respected craft brewery based in Fort Collins, Colorado. New Belgium itself sold to Kirin in 2019, and this collaboration between Bell's and New Belgium could potentially bring new opportunities for growth and expansion.

It's worth mentioning that consolidation within the craft beer industry is not a new phenomenon. In recent years, we have witnessed several notable acquisitions and mergers as larger companies seek to tap into the rapidly growing craft beer market. While some acquisitions have been met with skepticism, others have successfully managed to maintain the integrity and quality of the acquired breweries.

The sale of Bell's Brewery to Lion and Kirin should be viewed in this broader context. While it's understandable that some may have reservations about the impact of this acquisition on the brewery's identity and beer quality, it's important to wait and see how the new partnership unfolds.

As a sommelier and brewer, I have personally witnessed the changing landscape of the craft beer industry. It's a constantly evolving and highly competitive market, and breweries need to adapt and make strategic decisions to ensure their long-term sustainability. While it's always sad to see beloved independent breweries change ownership, it's also essential to recognize the potential benefits and opportunities that can arise from such collaborations.

Bell's Brewery has decided to sell to Lion and its parent company, Kirin, in a move that will undoubtedly shape the future of the brewery. The partnership with New Belgium Brewing provides a platform for potential growth and continued success. As beer enthusiasts, we can only hope that the quality and spirit of Bell's Brewery will remain intact, honoring its rich history and commitment to exceptional craft beer.