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Bell’s coming to Esky?

April 23, 2013

ESCANABA — A downstate brewery that sells specialty beers in the Upper Peninsula is looking at building a brewery and bottling facility in Escanaba....

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(37)

BryanJSebeck

Apr-23-13 12:33 PM

This actually came up on Reddit yesterday. They cited a Michigan beer blog called ImaBeerhound (link below) and they, in turn, linked to the actual proposal on the city's website.

Interestingly enough, the article brings up the possibility of the brand based out of the new location being called Upper Hand Brewery. Some quick research on that name brings us to this:

*******cargocollective****/erinisjustso/Upper-Hand-Brewery

According to the design work above, Upper Hand Brewery was founded by a pair of brothers in the UP.

So, in my mind, that says that either Bell's needs to do better research, or they're planning on buying the brand from the brothers (possibly hiring them as head brewers?).

Either way, I'm really excited for Escanaba to finally get a brewery that can compete with other UP and MI breweries. I will be anxiously watching this story as it develops over the next 18 months.

Source: ***********imabeerhound****/michigan-brewery-news/bells-to-purchase-up

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RedTigers

Apr-23-13 2:54 PM

I applaud anything that will or should bring some more jobs to our local economy. 200 people work for them downstate! Even a fraction of that would be a good thing for our area.

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EStacey

Apr-23-13 4:23 PM

Heck there's been a Miro-Brewery here for several years now.. This place is going to hire 5 people? Bottle washers at minimum wage? Will it be like Wally World, where the 'Management' is hand picked from outside the area? they have 18 months to build a brewery from the ground up. Will the brew (I've never heard of) be cheaper? Will they be offered tax incentives (which was such a problem with business before?) zoning, no problem.. could other Breweries start up? We might as well have another brewery.. it's a job.. if the beer is good it'll last.. if not.. pfft!.. another empty business in Escanaba..

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RedTigers

Apr-23-13 6:21 PM

Bells is a very popular brand and can be found many, many places.

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BryanJSebeck

Apr-23-13 6:28 PM

EStacey,

Just because you drink Bud Light is no reason to knock Bell's. They're the 7th largest craft brewer in the nation and the 14th largest brewery overall.

Operating a craft brewery doesn't /generally/ take a lot of manpower unless you start distributing, which is what Bell's does a lot of downstate. While the proposal mentions creating five jobs, it doesn't mean that's all they'll produce. The purchase includes first right on the adjacent land, making expansion a very real possibility.

Also to assume that Bell's employees get paid minimum wage when you know nothing about them or their company is simply irresponsible. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Source: ***********brewersassociation****/pages/media/press-releases/show?title=brewers-association-releases-top-50-breweries-of-2012

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Coach2323

Apr-23-13 8:48 PM

Nicely done BryanJSebeck. I was happy to read positive and less pessimistic and ignorant comments. I met and had beers with Larry Bell 10 years ago. He spoke of the U.P. then and their beers are top sellers in most every major U.S. city. They are constantly growing. The fact that he wants to put a facility in Escanaba is a simply a positive. The ignorant comments are exactly the negativity that the U.P. does not need. Bells is growing and I am sure there are 5 people in the area who would not mind working for them. Moreover, the 5 new jobs it creates will likely increase once they are operational. Also, the contractors and subs who will work, eat and sleep in Escanaba...positive as well. Just because you have no interest in this, do not ruin it for those who do. I just hope Escanaba and the council does not screw it up. A new business means jobs and more for the local economy. It means growth. Without it, cities die. Thank you Larry Bell.

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Robertson

Apr-23-13 9:27 PM

Great news. In the UP the number one employer is small business. Let's get 100 more businesses to expand or hire 5 more employees each in this area!

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BryanJSebeck

Apr-24-13 8:30 AM

Tailgater,

There's a number of things that could happen.

- Bell's could use the new facility strictly as a secondary location for current product. - They could launch a whole new brand based out of the facility that features a new lineup of beer. - They could launch a new brand as a testing grounds. They could try out and experiment with different recipes in the new location and then produce the successful ones for distribution under the Bell's brand. - Some combination of the above. I can easily see this as a secondary brewing location for Bell's as well as a "playground" for the head brewers.

No matter what happens, your access to Two Hearted won't decrease.

Personally, I love the brewer's playground idea. I'm just jealous of my friends and family who still live in the area and will be able to visit daily.

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BryanJSebeck

Apr-24-13 8:33 AM

Robertson,

Did you not bother to read either my response to EStacey or Coach2323's response to me?

5 people is an initial hiring estimate. As the new facility establishes itself and (hopefully) expands, additional people will be needed, especially if they bottle for distribution.

It really says something about you when a very well respected company expands to the area and you response is to be so needlessly cynical.

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granywoman

Apr-24-13 11:22 AM

It's been 40yrs since we moved to the Escanaba area and time and time again we have seen MANY businesses WANT to come to the area but only to be "shot down" by narrow mindedness. Since the "big businesses" have given up I think we should do all we can to help and support any small business that has the courage to open and make a livelyhood in this area..I agree with Mr. Sebeck..it starts with 5 employees and could be higher.And he is right about all the trades people that would benefit also. Someone has to start doing something or Escanaba will dwindle away and then there will LOTS more to complain about..I would support Bell's moving/building in the Escanaba area..Go for it!!!

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EStacey

Apr-24-13 3:45 PM

Sorry you seem to think "Business was shot down" by 'narrow mindedness' - Why don't you qualify your statement and just list, oh.. let's say.. THREE business you know of that were 'shot down'.. I doubt you can, your comment reeks of what many people 'believe' when they hear rumors.. If you've been here 40 years you know all about Harnishfeger, and the many business that actually launched and failed here.. (many do fail short of the first year.. ) Heck! even the bottom floor of the 'brand new' LOFTS has had a vacancy for business now going on, what is it? two years?.. That wasn't shot down..

So, please.. elaborate on your exaggerated comment that 'business is being shot down'.. Heck! nobody is shooting down the idea of a BIO MASS being fixed up here.. and that's been 4 years!.. so, please.. give me at least three yer talking about..

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EStacey

Apr-24-13 3:53 PM

BryanJSebeck, what makes you think the type of beer I drink has anything to do with a comment I make? Besides, 'Bud Light' is a LABEL of the Budweiser brewery. A much, much larger business than Bell - so, you like Bell, and it's on tap at the Grill where I drank last night.. I had a 'Widow Maker' don't know what label that was from.. but it went down good with my Bud Light, Hamburger, and Chicken Wings.

What?! YOu don't even live here?! Cheese and Rice Man, you got a lot to say about 'Jobs' here and how people who LIVE here should react to news like this..

Y'know.. McDonalds hires MORE than 5 people in a new place, and pays not much more than Minimum Wage doing it.. Dunno why folks get 'soooo' excited over a 5 job Industry 'thinking' (repeat thinking) about building up here..

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EStacey

Apr-24-13 3:59 PM

Sebeck, what?.. you don't even pay your power bill here in Escanaba? Were you here when the Council voted, twice!.. twice! to sell the Power Plant, and is still having trouble with the buyer coming up with the coinage? I don't remember the count, but I think it was more than 5 people working out there.. who's jobs are 'still' in flux 4 years after such a decision was made..

But we're talking BEER huh?.. Forgot, also forgot that if yer in Packer Country and mention the Lions you'll get a row!.. Meaning, NOBODY but whomever you think is right gets to say a diddly word.. That is without hearing some 'out of towner' tell him he shouldn't 'knock' something.. I'll remember that the next time I hear you put down whichever Sports Team you don't like.. over one you do... Yer such a hypocrite ..

Me? irresponsible?!.. shut the front door!.. You know for fact they won't be 'minimum wage' jobs? You just spoke for a company you don't work for!.. irresponsible! Ha!

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EStacey

Apr-24-13 4:07 PM

Coach2323.. Sorry, but MOST of the new building around here should go to, but does not go to.. LOCAL Contractors and Subs.. they already have houses and they eat, sleep, and pay bills here.. You've already 'bid' the construction OUT OF TOWN?! Which, is the norm here.. and quite the subject of Controversy.. The article is about 'selling land'.. it also contains "intends to construct a manufacturing facility on this site that would employ approximately five people." - Approximately 5 people.. not my words.. and no promise of getting any larger, not according to the article.. I have no VOTE on the Council, if they approve it weighs on them for making whatever decision there is.. Who's 'ruiniing anything' by disagreeing or asking for a second look at 'decisions made by the City'.. A brewery doesn't fix crumbling streets, nor make them safer.. and those 5 jobs?.. Well, they're at least 18 months away!.. 5 people will be layed off between then and now from existing jobs

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EStacey

Apr-24-13 4:19 PM

Personally, I'd like to see a LONG JOHN SILVER fish place be lured in here... they'd hire MORE than 5 people and what they sell wouldn't be considered.. The Article is about the 'sale of land' and the 'promise' of an industry.. not a promise of expansion. A sale of land..

You know, like that headache Menards had when it wanted to build it's new Super Store here.. and the 'empty' business it left behind in the Mall, which was at last notice.. in bankrupt court..

Let's hear it for 5 jobs!.. 18 months for now!.. it's a start! yippee! progress..

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EStacey

Apr-24-13 4:24 PM

Considered, 'Bad for your health'.. Beer is like that y'know.. it's brewed for it's alcoholic content.. fish, eh?.. not so much.

Ooh! Oooh!.. someone is interested in possibly, maybe, building a brewery here.. Let's not mess this up!.. let's just welcome them with open arms and such..

No Polution involved in Brewing Beer eh?.. Good!.. cause, you know. that water over the spillway on the Escanaba River sure looks brown today!.. wonder what it tastes like.. it's dumping directly into our drinking water.. but hey!.. the plant hires PEOPLE!.. JOBS!.. just ignore the run-off there..

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WhoWee

Apr-24-13 5:53 PM

All one has to do is read the insightful and friendly comments and see why no business wants to locate here.

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BryanJSebeck

Apr-24-13 8:38 PM

Tailgater,

I agree. Ed's just being needlessly hostile and combative like usual, even when people have gone out of their way to be polite to him. I guess his senility is starting to show.

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Murach1

Apr-24-13 11:38 PM

Let's look at some facts: Last year craft beer sales were a $10.2 billion dollar industry. This was an increase of $1.5 billion dollars from the previous year. Also out of the 2,347 craft breweries across the US only 43 shut down last year. I would say the beer industry is a pretty successful business plan to get into at this time. The statistics can be found here: ***********brewersassociation****/pages/business-tools/craft-brewing-statistics/facts

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Murach1

Apr-24-13 11:41 PM

As far as wages go here are some more statistics. As of 2009 (for companies bottling in the range of 0-5000 cases per year) the brewery manager made on average $42,700 per year, the other brewery staff made on average $30,900 per year, and the average hourly wage was $11.40 per hour. That isn't too bad for small business.

statistics can be found here: ***********abgbrew****/FAQs.htm

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Murach1

Apr-24-13 11:54 PM

Also as far as there being another Upper Hand (or Upperhand) Brewery goes I have yet to find a site that indicates it besides the cargocollective site. Bells has owned the trademark for Upper Hand brewing since April of 2011 according to the following legal site:

***********trademarkia****/upper-hand-85290448.html

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BryanJSebeck

Apr-25-13 7:19 AM

Murach1,

That's some great data. One minor correction, though. I think that your wage data for the Brewery Manager is based on barrels brewed, not cases. The only reason I say this is that bbl volume is the industry standard for judging volume production.

Also, Bell's already owning the trademark on the brand makes speculating on what they may do with the facility a bit easier. Interesting, though, that they were granted an extension on the trademark just days before the story broke. To me, that indicates a certain level of commitment to the brand, even if they don't launch it out of the new facility.

Now I'm going to have to look into what it takes to trademark a name. I've got 3-4 good brewery names that have been floating in my head for years. Every once in a while, I'll run a search and find that nobody is using them yet, which is a good sign for me. :)

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BryanJSebeck

Apr-25-13 11:52 AM

ImABeerHound just put up a followup article. In it, Bell says that they've been testing recipes for the new facility down in KZoo for several months. They also plan on distributing across the UP and adjacent northern states.

Source: ***********imabeerhound****/michigan-brewery-news/bells-brewery-inc-says-yescanaba.html

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EStacey

Apr-25-13 12:59 PM

Yeah, maybe my mental health is slipping.. probably from all the beer I drink.. 18 months from now when 5 jobs hit the market we'll find out 'how much' is paid them. I'm very not 'everyone' will be a Brewery Managers... Let's hope the construction contracts are all local - that'll help.. and who knows.. maybe someone, knowing Bells is coming to town will open another Bar or Restaurant - There'll certainly be business trucking in raw material and trucking out product.. so, we might get help on the road taxes and such I read on their site that a 'waste water' plant usually also goes with their operation.. that's a good thing, although.. at times the stench from the Paper Mill with it's 'waste water' treatment is a bit to take.. I'm sure fermenting beer smells lots better.. Hooray for Bells!.. I'll have a Bud Light please... thank you!

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EStacey

Apr-25-13 1:00 PM

Yeah, maybe my mental health is slipping.. probably from all the beer I drink.. 18 months from now when 5 jobs hit the market we'll find out 'how much' is paid them. I'm very not 'everyone' will be a Brewery Managers... Let's hope the construction contracts are all local - that'll help.. and who knows.. maybe someone, knowing Bells is coming to town will open another Bar or Restaurant - There'll certainly be business trucking in raw material and trucking out product.. so, we might get help on the road taxes and such I read on their site that a 'waste water' plant usually also goes with their operation.. that's a good thing, although.. at times the stench from the Paper Mill with it's 'waste water' treatment is a bit to take.. I'm sure fermenting beer smells lots better.. Hooray for Bells!.. I'll have a Bud Light please... thank you!

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