The Upper Peninsula has another brewery under construction. The Bell’s Upper Hand Brewery held a ground-breaking ceremony today at the Delta County Airport Renaissance Zone.
The 11,550-square-foot facility is expected to employ five people, will cost about $1.3 million, and is scheduled to be finished by April, 2014. Bell’s has selected Iron Mountain based Gundlach Champion, Inc. (GCI) as the General Contractor on the project.
“The Upper Peninsula has always had a special place in my heart. And Escanaba has all the resources anyone opening a business would want to have. We look forward to being a part of the Escanaba and Delta County business community” said Larry Bell, president and founder of Bell’s.
Escanaba City Manager Jim O’Toole agrees. “I am incredibly excited to mark the beginning of construction of the new Bell’s Upper Hand Brewery. The development will positively impact the community and will help us to continue to develop assets and resources. Each barrel of beer produced in Escanaba and sold throughout the Midwest will not only help the local economy but it will keep jobs in Escanaba. I thank all the partners who helped make this project a reality and look forward to a prosperous future for the company.”
Bell’s Brewery has a 20 year history in the state – it was the first Michigan brewery to serve beer by the glass to the public in 1993.
The proposed brewery plans to produce a variety of beers and ales to be distributed across the UP and adjacent northern states. Bell said he was drawn to the Escanaba area based on its central location and cooperation demonstrated by local units of government and business leaders.
Vicki Schwab from the Delta County Economic Development Alliance concluded “We’d like to thank Larry for his vision, community spirit, partnership, and bringing his recipe for success to Delta County. We know Upper Hand will leave us thirsty for more. We want to thank Larry Bell for saying yes to Escanaba.”
The Escanaba expansion is part of a $15 million capital improvement planned by the company. The craft brewery employs more than 200 people, and distributes beer over a territory that includes an 18-state area, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. Initial plans call for five employees at the Escanaba brewery.