New Bell’s Brewery site proposal

Something besides airplanes will likely take off at the Delta County Airport in the near future.

Bell’s Brewery wants to move its proposed Escanaba craft brewery and bottling plant to the Airport Renaissance Zone.

“We’re actually in the process right now of getting some paperwork finished up with the state of Michigan,” Delta County Airport Manager Kelly Smith said. “We’re hoping to have that completed within the next couple of weeks. They’re going to the Planning Commission for the city of Escanaba on August 8th.”

Bell’s has not mentioned any specific reasons for wanting to move to the Renaissance Zone.

However, Renaissance Zones exempt tenants or business owners from most state and local taxes.

The 11,550-square-foot Bell’s facility would employ five people and would cost $1.3 million.

The airport terminal building is within sight of the five-acre parcel that Bell’s wants. The company decided just last week that it had changed its mind about its original choice at the Whitetail Industrial Park.

“We’ve been working really hard with them since they first wanted to come into (the) Delta County area in particular,” Smith said. “Knowing that we’ve got other parcels and other places in Delta County that we can show them was a real big plus for us, so we’re real excited that they’ve decided to stay.”

The new facility will be called the Upper Hand Brewery, and it’ll produce entirely new types of beer.

Bell’s owner and founder Larry Bell has told the Escanaba Planning Commission that Upper Hand beer would be available in the U.P., northern Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota, but not in Lower Michigan.