Upper Hand Brewery, a division of Bell’s Brewery Inc., a state of the art craft brewery and bottling facility, broke ground on Friday at the Delta County Airport Renaissance Zone.
The 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.
“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.
The construction investment for the new brewery is estimated to be $1.3 million for the 11,500-square foot facility. Bell’s has selected Iron Mountain-based Gundlach Champion Inc. (GCI) as the general contractor on the project. Based in Iron Mountain, GCI has expertise in the construction of commercial, industrial, tribal, educational, healthcare and municipal structures, including wastewater treatment facilities.
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.
Escanaba City Manager Jim O’Toole agreed. “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.”