Founder, Former President/Owner
Thirty-six years after founding Bell’s Brewery in Comstock, Larry Bell handed over the reins to a new owner and a new team of leaders.
Bell on Nov. 10 said he would retire and sell the brewery he founded in 1985 to Lion, the Sydney, Australia-based parent company of New Belgium Brewing. His last day with Bell’s was in December.
His decision came down to two factors.
“First, the folks at New Belgium share our ironclad commitment to the craft of brewing and the community-first way we’ve built our business,” he said. “Second, this was the right time. I’ve been doing this for more than 36 years and recently battled some serious health issues. I want everyone who loves this company like I do to know we have found a partner that truly values our incredible beer, our culture and the importance of our roots here in Michigan.”
The combination of Bell’s and New Belgium placed the expanded company at the top of the U.S. craft beer market in sales volume and growth, with brands including Voodoo Ranger, Fat Tire, Two Hearted Ale and Oberon Ale.
Bell’s Executive Vice President Carrie Yunker now leads operations for the brand, reporting to New Belgium CEO Steve Fechheimer and joining the combined company’s leadership team.
VP of Operations John Mallett, a 20-year Bell’s employee, joined the leadership team to focus on integrating the two brewing organizations. Laura Bell, Larry Bell’s daughter, continues as a board member.
The brewery is operating as usual out of its existing locations.