Two long-standing family-owned southwest Michigan businesses united forces on Tuesday, November 1 for an evening of food, beer and fellowship. Schuler’s Restaurant & Pub in downtown Marshall and Bell’s Brewery, Inc. collectively welcomed 75 people for a five-course beer dinner, led by Matthew Moberly, director of beverage insights for Bell’s.
“Our relationship with Bell’s goes back decades to when we first introduced our Schuler’s Brew,” says third-generation owner Hans Schuler. “We’re proud to say that all eight of our draft lines are dedicated to Michigan craft beer, including many local and seasonal favorites.”
Guests to the Bell’s Beer Dinner were welcomed with a sample of the Schuler’s Brew—a Bohemian-style pilsner.
“We’ve only produced two private label beers in our history,” says Larry Bell, who founded Bell’s Brewery in 1985. “Those have been exclusively for standout companies including Schuler’s Restaurant and the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.”
Executive Chef John Stovall and Executive Sous Chef Jeff Shaver served a flavorful seasonal menu meant to pair perfectly with a selection of Bell’s beers, including a special menu for those in attendance who are vegetarian.
“Creating meat-free options allows us to really stretch our culinary creativity,” says Chef Stovall. “By using a variety of vegetables, we can craft meals that are just as flavorful, colorful and pleasing to the eye and the palate.”
Matthew Moberly began his beverage career working in grocery retail for Whole Foods Market in Ann Arbor. He joined the Bell’s Brewery team in January, 2004 overseeing their southeastern Michigan region. After seeing the dramatic growth of Bell’s and the craft beer industry as a whole, and wanting to be better prepared for the professional challenges ahead, he enrolled in the executive MBA program at Michigan State University. Upon completion, he took the lead on creating and developing the Bell’s key accounts team. In January 2015, Matthew was promoted to his new position, a newly created role to help Bell’s strengthen its data-supported decision making.
As a follow-up to the dinner, a small group of Schuler’s staff took a private tour of the Bell’s production facility in nearby Galesburg.
“This trip was a great experience for our team and another example of the strong partnership between our two companies,” says Sue Damron, Schuler’s President and Managing Partner. “Our visit was fun, but also educational as we learned more about the brewing process—with a bit of sampling as well.”
Bell’s Brewery is the longest continually-operating craft brewery in Michigan. More than 470 people over a 26-state area (in addition to Puerto Rico and Washington DC) are currently employed by Bell’s. The company brews more than 20 beers for distribution, as well as many other small-batch beers served in its Kalamazoo pub, the Eccentric Café.
Michigan overall boasts about 250 breweries (and growing) which conservative contribute more than $144 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $277 million. In terms of overall number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #5 in the nation—thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”
Founded in 1909, the iconic Schuler’s Restaurant & Pub epitomizes hospitality excellence as a fourth-generation run family business. Located in downtown historic Marshall, Schuler’s is recognized as world-class Michigan destination focused on offering guests quality food and excellent service, in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.