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"It's Morning in Chicago:" Bell's is Back

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jul 31, 2008 3:43PM

2006_10_bells.gifWe'd been hearing rumors about Bell's coming back to Chicago almost from the moment they launched the Kalamazoo line last autumn. Local media were sent a press release this morning making the rumors official. Bell's has struck distribution agreements with the three wholesalers they currently use to market the Kalamazoo line.

We spoke with Larry Bell by phone this morning. While Bell downplayed the recent acquisition of Union Beverage by Judge & Dolph as the removal of the final roadblock for Bell's to return to Chicago, Bell did say that the brewery's current relationships with Skokie Valley Beverage Company, Central Beverage Company and Schamberger Brothers have been very fruitful to date. Expect to see Bell's Amber, Porter, Oberon and Kalamazoo stout back on shelves and taps almost immediately.

As for what this means for the Kalamazoo line, Bell said that it will be phased out. "There are limited supplies left and we'll just stop making it once the stock runs out." However, don't expect every Bell's label to be back on shelves. There is a major hop shortage right now that's affecting brewers both large and small. That shortage means that Bell's popular Two-Hearted IPA will not be in the initial rollout. "But we have enough labels here that we could possibly do another version of Hop Solution," Bell said.