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Food/Agribusiness

SPONSORED BY DAN VOS CONSTRUCTION

The new year ushered in a new era for Bell’s Brewery Inc. as the iconic Kalamazoo-based craft brewer closed on its sale to Australian brewing conglomerate Lion Little World Beverages on Dec. 31. The deal partners Bell’s with New Belgium Brewing Co., which is also owned by Lion, while Bell’s founder Larry Bell walks away from the company. MiBiz spoke with Carrie Yunker, who oversees day-to-day operations at Bell’s as executive vice president, about the brewery’s future. 

Soft drink giant Monster Beverage Corp. announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the parent company of Comstock Park-based craft brewery Perrin Brewing Co.

LAWTON — Global food manufacturer Welch Foods Inc. plans to invest $26.2 million and add up to 57 jobs for a new bottling line planned at its facility in Van Buren County, state officials announced today.

Officials with Kalamazoo-based Bell’s Brewery Inc. are exploring new efficiencies with New Belgium Brewing Co. after the two craft beer staples formally completed a merger on Dec. 31.

KALAMAZOO — Bell’s Brewery Inc. started 2022 under new ownership after its sale to Australian brewing conglomerate Lion Little World Beverages closed on Dec. 31.

KALAMAZOO — When it first opened in 2008, the Can-Do Kitchen in Kalamazoo provided an avenue for budding food entrepreneurs to take their businesses outside of their homes and into a professional kitchen.

Still facing market pains ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan small craft distillers continue to lobby for looser state liquor control laws to help their businesses be more nimble and profitable.

Indoor farming operation Square Roots Urban Growers is expanding distribution for its leafy greens, herbs and other produce thanks to a newly-minted deal with Byron Center-based SpartanNash Co.

PLAINFIELD TWP. — Mike McDonald helped fuel an international expansion of his company’s all natural, sugar-free candy and treats by simply answering a few emails instead of jet setting to a vast network of global clients.

GRAND RAPIDS — After serving patrons as a brewpub for nearly a decade, Harmony Brewing Co. LLC is expanding to include the distribution of its beers in addition to a new line of wine and spirits.

A few West Michigan meat processors are recent beneficiaries of federal grant money to help the meat and poultry industry as it bounces back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

With a $205 million expansion project in Holland Charter Township, frozen foods producer Request Foods Inc. is essentially doubling down on its commitment to the region where it got its start more than three decades earlier. 

While Larry Bell maintains that his patrons won’t see any noticeable changes after the planned sale of his Bell’s Brewery Inc. to the parent company of New Belgium Brewing Co., the two like-minded breweries have several synergies they could leverage to unlock cost savings.

GRAND RAPIDS — The West Michigan Environmental Action Council and Grand Rapids-based South East Market LLC have received a nearly $127,000 federal grant to help fund a program addressing food insecurity. 

HUDSONVILLE — Two Hudsonville-based food businesses have landed a combined $210,000 in state grant money to help fund expansion projects.

KALAMAZOO — Craft brewing pioneer Bell’s Brewery Inc., known for its popular Two Hearted Ale and Oberon brands, will be transitioning to new ownership. 

Kevin Farhat has a fully staffed Garage Bar & Grill near downtown Grand Rapids, and he’s hired about 30 more people to work at a new location opening soon in Ada.

KENTWOOD — A Vancouver-based beverage packaging manufacturer that has expanded its presence in the United States plans to purchase a Grand Rapids area company.

ALPINE TWP. — Fresh produce distributor Vine Line Group LLC has changed hands following a recent sale.

HOLLAND TWP. — Frozen food processor Request Foods Inc. is planning a $205 million expansion in an effort to meet rising demand while diversifying its products and services.

Kent County is moving forward on plans for a roughly $370 million sustainable business park which public works officials hope will resolve the region’s fragmented and disjointed organic waste management infrastructure.

When Brooklyn, N.Y.-based urban indoor farming operation Square Roots Urban Growers broke into the $8.1 billion packaged salads and greens segment of the food industry this month, the company did so by leveraging a crucial partnership in West Michigan.

BATTLE CREEK — Kellogg Co. plans to invest roughly $45 million to reorganize its North American supply chain network, a move that already has had a negative effect on workers in its hometown of Battle Creek.

Anna Link and the rest of her family at Swisslane Dairy Farms Inc. encounter plenty of tough jobs on their 2,000-cattle farm in Alto.

KENTWOOD — Jason Spaulding recalled in the spring of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic decimated the bar and restaurant industry and left him sitting on 400 kegs of dead beer.

Befitting a company that prides itself on riding the cutting edge of the craft beer industry, Traverse City-based Right Brain Brewery was perhaps the first brewer to ever bring a hydrogen-infused beer to the commercial market.

KALAMAZOO — Kalsec Inc., a global producer of natural spices, advanced hop products and herb flavor extracts, has invested $10 million into a new technology center that will enhance its research and innovation capabilities.

ST. JOSEPH — Family-owned temperature-controlled warehousing and logistics provider Hanson Cold Storage Co., which does business as Hanson Logistics, has been sold to a Southeast Michigan company. 

MUSKEGON — A new partnership is bringing Michigan State University’s resources and expertise in food processing to companies and entrepreneurs throughout West Michigan.

In 2019, Becky Huttenga led a comprehensive survey of Ottawa County’s agricultural landowners in an effort to understand the industry’s most pressing needs.

Daniel Estrada says his company’s resilience often resonates with investors.

CALEDONIA — Grocery distributor and retailer SpartanNash Co. today celebrated the grand opening of its first micro-fulfillment center, which the company expects to more effectively serve a growing number of online customers.

BYRON CENTER — Grocery retailer and distributor SpartanNash Co. has announced a new “Micro-Fulfillment Center” that will assemble online grocery orders to be shipped to local grocery stores or homes.

 Kris Spaulding, co-owner and president of Grand Rapids-based Brewery Vivant, has long advocated for sustainability and diversity, equity and inclusion in the local brewing community. Now she has a larger platform to promote the business values.

When Courtney Lorenz launched her business in 2015 brewing and selling kombucha, she started working with just three 5-gallon containers. 

The meat supply chain is bracing for potential fallout from a disruption in production as the world’s largest meat producer rebounds from a devastating cyberattack.

As a producer that heavily supplies the food service industry, Swanson Pickle Co. Inc. had to make profound adjustments to its sales channels when the COVID-19 pandemic changed buying habits.

Like nearly everyone in the restaurant industry, Jessica Ann Tyson has dealt with a barrage of challanges throughout the course of the last 15 months.

Despite a season last year filled with widespread shutdowns and canceled events, farmers markets across Michigan not only survived the pandemic, but in some cases thrived.

ROCKFORD — Rockford Brewing Co. LLC has unveiled plans to renovate a nearby historic building and expand with the new Malph’s Pizza Pub concept. 

About a year ago, Jon O’Connor and his team at Long Road Distillers LLC explored potential locations in Cadillac but were not able to find the right fit.

Breweries, wineries and restaurants may now legally offer free bingo to patrons without fear of punishment by the state following a recent ruling by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.

As West Michigan fruit growers braced for two nights of hard frost in late April that would threaten their already developing buds, many in the industry and downstream economy feared a repeat of a disastrous 2012 season.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has filed lawsuits against two out-of-state wineries and one wine retailer for allegedly shipping wine into Michigan illegally.

GRAND RAPIDS — When the COVID-19 pandemic first took hold of the country last year, Kevin Chaperon took the at-home bread baking trend to the next level and opened a ghost kitchen concept called Blacklist Bagels LLC. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Jessica Stricklen plans to open the first gluten-free microbrewery in the state of Michigan in Grand Rapids’ Roosevelt Park neighborhood.  

GRAND RAPIDS — 86 Repairs Inc., a company based in both Grand Rapids and Chicago that partners with restaurants to provide end-to-end repairs and maintenance for kitchen equipment, recently closed a $2 million round of seed funding.

MUSKEGON — An 8,000-square-foot food processing business incubator in Muskegon is now open and accepting new tenants.