Bell’s is (Finally) Back in Chicago!

The question is, for how long or when will the imminent lawsuit(s) ensue?,0,7243566.story

“Bell’s Brewery Inc. beers are headed back to the Windy City nearly two years after the company pulled its brands out of the Chicago market following a nasty dispute with a distributor.

Comstock, Mich.-based Bell’s Brewery on Thursday announced new distribution agreements with Central Beverage Co., Schamberger Brothers and Skokie Valley Beverage Co. that will mark the return of Bell’s brands in Chicago beginning Friday.

Bell’s, makers of Oberon Ale, Bell’s Amber, and Kalamazoo Stout, left the Chicago market in late 2006 after a fight with its distributor at the time, National Wine and Spirits Inc., which had sold the rights to distribute the Bell’s brands to another distributor, Chicago Beverage Systems. Illinois state law basically forbids beer companies from jumping to one distributor to another without a buyout or some other agreement. Instead of paying, Bell’s owner and co-founder Larry Bell decided to pull his brands out of the state even though the market accounted for more than 10 percent of his sales.

Mack, thank you.

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