ESCANABA - A downstate brewery that sells specialty beers in the Upper Peninsula is looking at building a brewery and bottling facility in Escanaba.
Escanaba City Council will discuss the possible sale of land to Bell's Brewery Inc. during a special meeting Thursday morning. The company has offered to buy 3.16 acres in the Whitetail Industrial Park for $35,000.
According to a recent letter from Bell's Brewery President Larry Bell to Escanaba City Manager Jim O'Toole, the company "intends to construct a manufacturing facility on this site that would employ approximately five people."
The company would seek to complete construction of the manufacturing facility within 18 months from the date of closing on the property sale, Bell stated in the letter.
According to the agenda information, the city's administration is recommending council approve the land purchase request with the 18-month construction stipulation. The proposed use is consistent with the district's zoning on 19th Avenue North.
Bell's Brewery Director of Marketing Laura Bell, Larry Bell's daughter, said in a telephone interview with the Daily Press Monday that the company's beers are distributed to several places in the region.
"The Upper Peninsula has a special place in our hearts," she said, declining to comment on the potential property sale until the deal is finalized with the city.
Examples of Bell's Brewery brands sold in the local area on draft and bottled include Oberon Ale, Two-Hearted Ale, and Amber Ale, she said.
Escanaba locations which sell the company's ales include Citgo, Elmer's County Market, Jim's South Side, Gust Asp, IGA, Kobasic's Grocery, Perrault's Market, Super One, Quik Food Mart, Walgreen's, and Walmart.
Other Escanaba locations which sell Bell's Brewery products include Baron's Bar, Buck Inn, Crispigna's, Escanaba Country Club, House of Ludington, Ludington Grill, Pioneer Motor Inn, and The Stonehouse.
Locations in Gladstone include the Bluff, Citgo, the Grain 'N' Grape, Oak Bluff Grocery, Terrace Bay Inn, and Super Valu, according to the company's website.
Bell's Brewery has been selling beer since the fall of 1985 when ale was made in a 15-gallon soup kettle in Kalamazoo. The company has expanded from 135 barrels to 500,000 barrels a year, stated the company's website.
Laura Bell said just more than 200 people are employed by the company which has a brewery and cafe in Kalamazoo, a distribution center in Galesburg, and a brewery and corporate office in Comstock.
Bell's Brewery ales are sold in 18 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., she noted.