Will Larry Bell Sell Bell’s Brewery?

On the eve of the 2012 Craft Brewers Conference (CBC), Bell’s Brewery President, Larry Bell, has managed to once again make the news.

Last year he was squabbling with Northern Brewer over the use of the previously named “Three Hearted Ale” homebrewing kit. This year, he’s discussing a sale.

Yesterday, Bell told MLive.com that he’d consider selling his brewery – the country’s seventh largest craft brewer – if he can’t buy out the company’s 10 other shareholders.

“Unfortunately with the growth and the size the company has gotten to, the alarms are going off to where we have to figure it out or do something else,” Bell told MLive. “I don’t want to sell, but it’s a great time to sell if I had to. There are many willing buyers.

Bell and his two children (Laura and David) own a majority of the company’s shares. The hope is to keep the brewery a “family business,” but after producing 185,536 barrels last year and projecting nearly 230,000 for 2012, Bell could soon be cashing out.

“We, as a family, have to soon figure out what’s going to happen. Unfortunately, the way this thing is structured, this company is structured, it’s not sustainable. I’m not set up estate-wise to guarantee it can be handed over to the kids. We’ve been trying to work on that,” Bell told MLive.

The company is already $22 million into a planned $52 million expansion. So, what will become of the remaining $30 million to be invested and the Comstock, Mich-based brewery? We’ll just have to ask Bell himself at this week’s CBC.

More on this story once we touch down in San Diego…

Brewbound Job Board

The leading job board for the beer industry. Featuring hundreds of jobs from leading breweries and associated companies.

Brewbound Marketplace Listing

The Brewbound Marketplace features listings for equipment, services, and more. Post a listing today.

Brewbound's Database of Breweries

Brewbound's database of breweries includes thousands of breweries from around the world.

Brewbound Podcast

The Brewbound Podcast features interviews with beer industry executives and entrepreneurs, along with highlights and commentary from the weekly news. New episodes every Thursday.