Larry Bell Retires, Conferences and Grants, MEDC Small Business Survey

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December 2021


Larry Bell’s Retirement

Larry Bell Retires

In early November, Michigan’s craft beverage community received news of Larry Bell’s retirement and the sale of Bell’s Brewery to Australian Company, Lion. The news also announced a partnership between Bell’s Brewery and New Belgium Brewing, out of Fort Collins, CO.

Larry Bell has been a pioneering force for craft beer in the state, which has led to ripple effects felt across Michigan’s entire craft beverage industry. The Michigan Craft Beverage Council thanks Larry for his service to the Council, but also for his contributions toward making Michigan a thriving home for craft beverage business.

Best wishes to the entire crew at Bell’s Brewery through the transition and into the next phase of the business – which is sure to be a success.

Read A Letter from Larry Bell to Kalamazoo.

Michigan Craft Beverage Council Awarded Specialty Crop Block Grant

Michigan wine grapes

In November, Governor Whitmer joined Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Gary McDowell to announce the state’s recipients of the 2021 U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. This program offers federal funding to state departments of agriculture to support the specialty crop industry.  

Michigan Craft Beverage Council was awarded $45,662 to create and promote a grower directory specific to the state’s craft beverage industry. This project will increase access to Michigan grown hops, apples, wine grapes, and other specialty crops for production of hard cider, wine, beer, and spirits.  

Read the full press release.

It’s Conference Season!

Check out upcoming craft beverage conferences in Michigan and around the U.S.

You can always check MCBC’s Events & Conferences web page for up-to-date conference information.

2022 Michigan Wine Collaborative Election & Annual Meeting

Michigan Wine Collaborative

The Michigan Wine Collaborative (MWC) election and Annual Meeting will take place during the 2022 Orchard & Vineyard Show in Traverse City on January 19, 2022 at 2:30 pm. MWC encourage all members to attend the conference and the Annual Meeting, however, remote participation options will be available.  There are open board seats, executive positions, and committee chair posts available for dedicated MWC members looking to get involved.  Please submit nominations here.

Upcoming MDARD Grant Opportunities

There are many grant opportunities available through Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development that can support craft beverage businesses in a variety of ways. Here is a list of available and upcoming grant opportunities with estimated release dates:

Specialty Crop Block Grants – Request for proposal will release on January 4, 2022

Value-Added and Regional Food Systems Grants – Request for proposals will release on February 2, 2022

Rural Development Fund Grants – Request for proposals expected in fall of 2022

Michigan Craft Beverage Council Research Grants – Request for proposals expected in fall of 2022

Food and Agriculture Investment Fund Grants – Please connect with your regional MDARD economic development specialist for information about this opportunity.

Sign up to receive email updates about Michigan agriculture grants!

Michigan Wine Collaborative Awarded Specialty Crop Block Grant

The Michigan Wine Collaborative is committed to the expansion of the MI wine industry by reaching new markets, supporting education, research, and workforce development, and making sure the world knows that Michigan wine is for everyone.

In pursuit of that mission, MWC applied for the 2021 USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant aimed at creating a unified brand image for the entire Michigan wine industry. This grant intends to create and circulate a cohesive brand image in order to sustain and increase grape sales and production in the state of Michigan.

Contact the Michigan Wine Collaborative for more information.

MEDC Small Business Survey Closes December 20


The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) wants to hear from you! The MEDC understands how difficult this last year and a half has been for small business owners and admires your resilience through it all. For the MEDC to adapt its programming and to continue to provide high quality business support that meets your needs, it is asking business owners across Michigan to complete a brief survey. The survey will only take about 7 minutes to complete.

To access the survey, click here.

Michigan Agritourism

Michigan Farm Fun

Many craft beverage operations in Michigan qualify as agritourism businesses. The Michigan Agritourism Association can support these businesses by providing resources and promotional opportunities. Order a directory, check out the event calendar, and learn about membership at

In this Issue:

Contact the Michigan Craft Beverage Council:

Michigan Craft Beverage Council
PO Box 30017
Lansing, MI 48909


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