Local Beginnings, Major Expansion

Bell’s Brewery
Comstock, Michigan
213,000 sq ft | Construction Cost: $26 million
Design Partner: Byce & Associates

A few hearty beer drinkers have mixed water, malted barley, hops and yeast together, fermented it, and then bottled their own homemade beer. Larry Bell, starting in Kalamazoo, Mich. did the same thing in 1985, but took the process many steps further.

Today, Bell’s Brewery is one of America’s largest craft brewing companies.

Bell’s was stretched to the seams in 2015 when it hired Walbridge to construct a 213,000-square-foot expansion of its brewery campus in Comstock, Mich.

The $26 million project included extensive site work, along with construction of a new bottling hall, keg storage building and warehouse, and support facilities. The expansion is expected to increase Bell’s annual capacity to approximately 1 million barrels.

Walbridge constructed the building envelope for a 13,000-square-foot storage facility, along with loading dock areas.

The constructor also removed the site’s main truck drive, rerouted existing drainage and water lines, and provided grading infill to match the pad for a new 27,000-square-foot bottling hall with existing elevations around the campus.

A new 100,000-square-foot logistics center and warehouse was constructed using tilt-up precast panels. Inside the warehouse, Walbridge built a 14,000-square-foot drive-in keg cooler and 25 cells to accommodate various processes.

Bell’s products include the popular seasonal Oberon Ale and award-winning Two Hearted Ale. It employs more than 400 people across 23 states and is Michigan’s largest brewer.

99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall:
Bell's Brewery Expands

John Mallett of Bell's Brewery explains the reasons for enlarging bottling space for one of America's fastest-growing craft brewers. Walbridge and Bell's worked together smoothly and collaboratively to ensure all needs were met.

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