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black is beautiful

COMSTOCK, Mich. – Bell’s Brewery is proud to announce that it has joined the Black is Beautiful initiative; an effort to help bring awareness to the injustices many people of color face daily.

The Black is Beautiful initiative originated with Marcus Baskerville, founder and head brewer at Weathered Souls Brewing based in San Antonio. Originally planned as a Weathered Souls-only release, Baskerville was encouraged to expand his reach and make the recipe and label artwork available to all.

“We all have some work to do, Bell’s included, and we are committed to that. It starts on an individual level. We all have a responsibility to do what we can to continue this conversation and help drive real change,” Larry Bell, president and founder of Bell’s Brewery said.

There are currently more than 700 breweries from across the globe committed to this initiative.

Bell’s version of the Weathered Souls Imperial Stout recipe will be released in 6-pack bottles exclusively at Bell’s General Store in downtown Kalamazoo and Upper Hand Brewery Taproom in August.

“Our mission is to bridge the gap that’s been around for ages and provide a platform to show that the brewing community is an inclusive place for everyone of any color. We are asking for all breweries and brewers far and wide to raise a glass with us in unison and participate in this collaboration,” a statement on the Black is Beautiful website reads.

As part of this initiative, Bell’s will make donations to two local Black-led organizations; the Kalamazoo NAACP and Face Off Theatre.

This collaboration brew, while sharing some of the same values, is not part of Bell’s Celebration Series. That series, which empowers different groups within the company that makes Bell’s what it is, will continue later this year with another beer designed and brewed by Bell’s employees.

That next release, which will come from and celebrate Bell’s Black and African American employees, will be released in the fall.

Previous brews have celebrated International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day, the LGBTQ+ community and veterans.

Additional details about Bell’s participation in the Black is Beautiful initiative will be announced as they become available on Bell’s website and social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Upper Hand Brewery is a division of Bell’s Brewery, located in Escanaba, Michigan.

 

ABOUT BELL’S BREWERY

Bell’s Brewery, Inc. began in 1985 with a quest for better beer and a 15 gallon soup kettle. Since then, we’ve grown into a regional craft brewery that distributes to 41 states, in addition to Puerto Rico and Washington DC. The dedication to brewing flavorful, unfiltered, quality craft beers that started in 1985 is still with us today. We currently brew over 20 beers for distribution as well as many other small batch beers that are served at our pub in Kalamazoo, the Eccentric Cafe. Our ongoing goal is to brew thoughtfully, creatively and artistically. 100% family-owned and independent, we strive to bring an authentic and pleasant experience to all of our customers through our unique ales and lagers. For more information, please visit bellsbeer.com.

Grand Rapids, Mich. – Broad Leaf Local Beer, the alter ego of the largest independently owned brewery in Grand Rapids, Brewery Vivant, is preparing to launch its beer into the market through self distribution in early 2020. Since late summer, the brewery has been quietly operating in its new tap room at 2885 Lake Eastbrook Blvd, just around the corner from Trader Joe’s. During this time, the brewery has been experimenting with beer and food recipes. It has already carved out a reputation for its progressive offerings being recently voted as a 2019 Best New Brewpub by Revue Magazine readers.

They recently teamed up with Grand Rapids based Koeze Company to make a beer version of their famous Cream-Nut Peanut Butter Cluster candy. The beer is part of a pre-launch of the brewery’s beers into the marketplace where the public is invited to vote on which of the four beers will be distributed. The kick-off party will include a ‘Rube Goldberg’ inspired machine that through a series of pulleys, ramps and match box cars will automatically bag the first four-pack sold to a lucky customer. 

“As we approach our 110th anniversary as a Grand Rapids based company, we were excited to work with a brewery who has such a great reputation for both beer and food and its connection to the community,” says Koeze Nut Company President Jeff Koeze. “It seemed like a difficult task to re-create our specialty candy in beer form. However we tried the beer and the Cream-Nut Peanut Butter Cluster side-by-side and it was amazing!” 

“Koeze is well known for their high quality products, it seemed like a natural fit for our brands to work together,” says Brewery Vivant CEO Jason Spaulding. “Broad Leaf is our outlet to pilot new and creative beers and this project was the perfect fit. We achieved just the right balance of flavors and are excited to share it with the public.” 

Broad Leaf Local Beer’s launch event is on December 27 with four exciting beers; Hazy J, a taproom favorite New England style juicy IPA, Koeze Cream Nut Cluster, the Koeze Cream-Nut inspired peanut butter-chocolate beer, Vanilla-zilla a vanilla milkshake IPA, and Banan-Appeal a rich stout made with 200 pounds of bananas and blended with bourbon barrel aged beer. 

“We are looking for guest feedback on these beers. Based on what people think, we will select which ones to scale up and put out in the marketplace,” says Broad Leaf taproom manager Jared Rader. “Our owner Jason has a few tricks up his sleeve to make this a mind-blowing event. He loves Rube Goldberg machines and has been working on an overly complicated beer delivery system with pulleys, ropes, and matchbox cars that will drop a four-pack from the ceiling into a grocery bag for the first retail customer whenever we launch a new packaged beer.” 

“Part of what has made Broad Leaf beers sought after is that they have only been available at the brewery itself since we opened,” says Brewery Vivant President Kris Spaulding. “We look forward to sharing our beers with a wider audience through working directly with some of the industry friends we have made over the years. A select number of retailers and bars will soon have the beer available to sell at their locations. Even though the window of opportunity is short for public input, it will be fun to see what people think,” she adds. 

According to current liquor laws, Broad Leaf Local Beer will only be able to self distribute into the first few months of the year. Existing as two brands under one umbrella, once Broad Leaf and Brewery Vivant aggregate 1,000 barrels of production between the two entities, self distribution will cease. “Broad Leaf hasn’t been in the market before,” says CEO Jason Spaulding. “While our Vivant brands will continue to be sold through our trusted wholesale partners, this little bit of self distribution will allow us to see what the market thinks without having to commit to long-term wholesale contracts,” he adds. 

Launch event details: Doors open at 11:00 AM on Friday, December 27 at Broad Leaf Local Beer. The four new beers will be available on draft and customers are encouraged to vote for their favorites throughout the day and the following weeks until supply runs out. The main event begins at 4:00 when the “Beer-Delivery” machine will be activated and one lucky customer will be able to take home the 4-pack of that drops from the ceiling. Also starting at 4:00 Koeze Nut Company will be on hand with Cream-Nut peanut butter clusters to sample alongside the collaboration beer. Live music by local band “Cheap Emotion” begins at 9:00 PM.