Bell’s Brewery Has Been Dethroned As Largest Michigan Brewery
According to the production numbers released this week from Bell's Brewery and Founder's Brewery in Grand Rapids, it seems like Founders has come out on top. It turns out that in the year 2017, Founders produced just a little more beer for the year than Bell's.
Bell's Brewery of Kalamazoo is an independent company while Founder's sold some of its stock to the Spanish company Mahou San Miguel in 2014. After hearing the news, owner of Bell's Larry Bell said:
We're the largest craft brewery in Michigan. Mahou (San Miguel) has always been a bigger brewer than us.
Because Founders 30% of their stock, they are no longer considered a craft brewery under the guidelines from the National Brewers Association Trade Organization. The organization defines a craft brewer as a small, independent, traditional brewer. Also, the company must produce 6 million barrels of beer or less every year. In addition, the brewer must be less than 25% owned or controlled by an alcohol industry member that is not itself defined as a craft brewer. Bell's Brewery is a family-owned business, so technically Bell's still remains the state's largest craft brewery.
According to Founder's Co-Founder Mike Stevens, his brewery produced about 466,700 barrels last year (roughly 14.5 million gallons). Larry Bell said Bell's Brewery, produced 464,000 barrels (roughly 14.4 million gallons). Competition is always stiff in the world of breweries in Michigan. It's nice to see these Michigan based companies having so much success. Who will come out on top by the end of 2018? Until then, I'm gonna be enjoying the last of my "Hopslam", so we will have to wait and see.