The Kalamazoo-based brewery announced on Thursday its purchase of a 3.16 acre lot in Escanaba, Mich., a small city that sits on the cusp of Little Bay de Noc. The Escanaba City Council approved the purchase, which will function as the home of Upper Hand Brewery, a new division of Bell’s Brewery that will brew and bottle a variety of beers for distribution across the U.P. and adjacent northern states.
“Escanaba has all the resources anyone opening a business would want to have,” Larry Bell, founder and president of Bell’s Brewery, said in a release. “I see a lot of potential for continued development. It’s a good place for Bell’s to be.”
The purchase is part of a company-wide $15 million investment and the new brewery will employ five people. The construction, which will be handled by local contractors and suppliers, and equipment will cost about $2.5 million and will be completed in about 18 months. New beer recipes have already been brewed at the Kalamazoo brewery and served at the adjacent Bell’s Eccentric Café.
After visiting the Escanaba area in March, Bell said that he was drawn by its central location and the cooperation from local government and business leaders. Vicki Schwab, the Delta County Economic Development director, started providing Bell with information about the community and possible building sites last year.
“A craft brewery of Bell’s caliber will not only be a great asset to the city of Escanaba, it will further aid in diversifying our regional manufacturing base,” Jim O’Toole, Escanaba City Manager, said in a release.
Michigan state senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) said that the investment signifies solid growth for the area and will contribute toward a brighter future for the Central Upper Peninsula.
“Larry is willing to invest in our community,” Casperson said in a release. “He’s going to be here for the long haul.”