Bell’s Brewery co-owner Laura Bell will “step away” as CEO of the Michigan-based craft beer company, she wrote in a letter to distributors yesterday.
Citing her desire to “explore other passions and interests,” Bell said she would relinquish the position on May 18. She was appointed CEO on February 3, 2017.
In her memo, Bell, who will remain on the company’s board of directors, said the move did not signal an impending sale of the business.
“We are not selling and will remain a 100% independently owned family business,” she wrote.
As Bell steps back from the business, her father, Larry Bell, who founded the company in 1985, will oversee operations.
“Day-to-day operations will be overseen by Larry Bell in addition to senior leadership, of whom I have the utmost confidence,” Bell wrote.
Bell, who began working full-time at the brewery in 2007, served as a marketing director between 2009 and 2013. That year, she took over as vice president and would later be named CEO.
Bell’s, ranked as the seventh largest craft brewery in the U.S. by industry trade group the Brewers Association, recently expanded its distribution footprint to seven new states in the Northeast.
Under Laura Bell’s leadership, the company grew off-premise sales by more than 18 percent in 2017, according to market research firm IRI Worldwide.
Dollar sales of Bell’s brands are up 18 percent through the first three months of 2018, according to IRI.
Laura Bell’s letter to distributors is below.
Dear Distributor Partner,
This is one of the hardest emails I have had to write during my time here at Bell’s.
As I have shared with our employees, I have worked as a Bell’s employee in some capacity or another for almost 11 years. I started in sales right out of college and have had the incredible opportunity to work with so many over the years. I have loved it, and love Bell’s. I have not taken the opportunity to explore my other passions and interests.
Effective May 18th, 2018, I will be stepping away from my role as CEO of Bell’s. Day to day operations will be overseen by Larry Bell in addition to senior leadership, of whom I have the utmost confidence.
We are not selling and will remain a 100% independently owned family business. I will remain on the Board of Directors and will still have a role when it comes to making big decisions for this company.
We have the right team and structure to continue to support you and I know that our partnership will remain strong.
Our Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Matt Moberly, will continue to remain your main point of contact should you have any questions or concerns.
Thank you for all that you do.