Categorized under: Brewery, Expansion

$5.2 million expansion plans at Bells Brewery

$5.2 million expansion moves ahead at Bell’s Brewery in Comstock Township
by Al Jones

COMSTOCK TOWNSHIP — Expansion plans at the headquarters of Bell’s Brewery Inc. are moving ahead with site plan approval for the project last week by the Comstock Township Planning Commission.

The brewery plans to add 15,000 square feet of office space onto its 60,000-square-foot production operation at 8938 Krum Ave.

Owner Larry Bell estimates that a cramped 2,000 square feet is currently used for office cubicles, employee breakroom space and other non-production uses. The craft brewer uses the balance of the space for beer production.

The $5.2 million expansion project, which will be on the east side of the existing facility, is expected to start in late March or early April after final drawings and other administrative groundwork is completed, Bell said. He said the CSM Group of Kalamazoo will be construction manager.

“The office building is going to be super-econfriendly,” Bell said. “We are shooting for platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.”


“First of all, it’s the right thing to do given energy costs these days,” Bell said. “Our competitors are doing it. I think its good marketing for us. And I think our customers are looking for us to be an eco-friendly, responsible company.”

The maker of Oberon and Third Coast Old Ale has been in Comstock Township for about seven years but had its origins in downtown Kalamazoo in 1984. It continues to have a retail operation, storage warehouses and a workshop area in downtown Kalamazoo, adjacent to 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave. Of some 40,000 square feet of space there, most is for storage, Bell said. Only about 3,000 square feet is for production.

The Comstock office expansion continues the growth of the company, which over the last two years added a new warehouse, completed the $3.2 million expansion of its fermentation cellar, and added a new beer kegging line.

The brewery’s fermentation capacity has grown to 280,000 barrels per years, versus 140,000, Bell said.

Beer production grew by more than 22 percent in 2008, to more than 111,000 barrels, Bell said, the seventh consecutive year of double-digit growth. The business anticipates an additional 20 percent growth this year.

Of the Comstock office expansion, Bell said, “One of the things that we’re building is a large room to hold 150 people –Â to get all employees together or so we can host meetings of master brewers or other professional organizations.”

The business has 92 employees, 65 of whom are in Comstock Township.
If all goes according to plan, the development will be finished by the end of 2010.

Link to article.

RSSSubscribe to our feed.