Bell’s Brewery Inc. is a familiar name to many Michiganders who eagerly anticipate its seasonal staples, like Two Hearted Ale and Oberon, a summery American wheat ale. This year, Bell’s celebrated 35 years of brewing and recently began distributing products in their 40th state, solidifying their status from local secret to national favorite.
Matthew Moberly (MBA ’07), vice president of sales and marketing at Bell’s, has been with the 100% family-owned and independent craft brewery for 11 years, helping to lead and shape its growth.
“I was pursuing a chemistry master’s and I just had this epiphany that I did not want to be a chemist,” he said.
Moberly started in the beer industry as a buyer for a local grocery store, eventually working his way up at the Kalamazoo-based brewery. “I kind of have two jobs. I have my responsibilities of running the sales and marketing team, and I love that leadership role of helping craft the business and marketing,” he said. “But then my other role is basically being a leader helping to shape our company.
“When I started at Bell’s, we were in nine states,” he continued. “In many ways, our ability to expand geographically was built on our ability to service and produce enough beer. We had 150 different beers leave the brewery last year.”
Craft breweries are popping up across the country, with Bell’s floating its way to the top. The American Homebrewers Association ranked the brewery No. 1 in the nation in 2019 and dubbed its Two Hearted Ale the No. 1 beer in the country three years in a row.
According to Moberly, Bell’s has excelled as a company by sticking to its roots.
“We have a reputation for quality and consistency, and that is obviously vital for the longevity of any brewery,” he said. “You don’t survive in the craft world that long if you’re making inconsistent beer.”
Avid Bell’s fans can eat at the Eccentric Café in Kalamazoo or book a tour of one of the brewhouses. As Bell’s has grown, it hasn’t left behind its dedication to local customers, as it continues to offer special beers exclusively sold at its home base.
“At Bell’s we have an ethos where we want to be a brewer’s brewer,” Moberly said. “Our general strategy has always been that we want to find people where they are doing what they love and then share a beer with them. That, in a nutshell, is kind of how we view marketing.”
In reflecting on his time at as a Spartan, Moberly said the Broad Executive MBA program is unique and ultimately helped him advance at the brewery.
“What I loved about the program was that I was able to still continue to work at Bell’s while I went to school,” he said. “The most important classes that I took revolved around people, and being connected with a bunch of like-minded individuals of diverse backgrounds and diverse experiences was special.”
Whether you venture to the brewery in Kalamazoo or find your frothy favorite for sale in another state, the next time you indulge in something from Bell’s, you can say “Go Green” and cheers to the fellow Spartan behind the brewery’s growth.