John Stroh III, whose great-great-grandfather founded Stroh Brewing Co. in Detroit in 1850, and John Mallett, the production manager at Bell's Brewery Inc., had lunch together more than two years ago.
During their conversation, Stroh mentioned a series of old wooden fermenters sitting in a warehouse in the Detroit area.
Intrigued, Mallett told Stroh he'd like to incorporate them into the planned expansion of Bell's Brewery Inc.'s Comstock Township facility. Fast forward to earlier this week when Bell's unveiled the $20 million expansion project to its production facility and Mallett's idea is a little closer to fruition.
In the B Cellar Room of the new 200-barrel brewhouse sits, in several pieces, about four of the 100-year-old-plus fermenters. Mallett said during the grand opening of the brewhouse on Monday that he plans to re-build three fermenters to make draught-only beers using an open-fermentation process. The project is large and somewhat complicated, given the age of the equipment. The company has no timeline for when — and, given the complexity, if — it will make beer.