Bell’s Celebration Series continues with Seneca Village, release event and education

Bell’s Brewery announced the next release in its Celebration Series.

Seneca Village, the sixth beer to be designed and brewed by Bell’s staff, celebrates Black and African American employees. It was brewed to bring awareness to a part of American history that is often hidden or left out of more forward-facing narratives.

Seneca Village, a Black IPA with an ABV of 6.19%, specifically calls attention to the story of the 19th-century village of the same name.

The beer will be available to purchase in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles exclusively at Bell’s General Store in downtown Kalamazoo and on tap at the adjacent Eccentric Café for a special event on June 19 at noon. That event will also feature a special food menu and merchandise.

“Stories of thriving and flourishing African American communities like Seneca Village, the Greenwood District in Tulsa (Oklahoma), and Gullah Island are left out of the spotlight. This committee of Bell’s employees wanted to specifically bring attention to a part of American history that deserves more attention than it has received in the past,” Jay Maddock, Bell’s Equity and Inclusion Specialist said.

About 1,600 residents, mostly African American landowners, were displaced through eminent domain to create Central Park in New York City. 

“While Seneca Village (and the events that happened there) may be a long way from Bell’s, acts like this, along with redlining, and housing discrimination adversely impacts Black and African American residents across the country,” Maddock added.  

Seneca Village’s release coincides with the annual Juneteenth Celebration and multiple events in Kalamazoo and beyond.

Juneteenth was intentionally selected as the tapping date by the committee of Bell’s employees because of the date’s significance. Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery and celebrates the ongoing pursuit of justice and equality for Black Americans. The connection between Juneteenth and Seneca Village is found in the effort to spotlight, share, and celebrate the stories of Black Americans.

“This event and beer incorporate several educational components, which hopefully helps drive efforts to better educate and understand the plight and circumstances faced historically by black and African Americans,” Demetrius Goodale, Bell’s Warehouse Manager, said. “Although this event is meant as a celebration, one of the desired outcomes is to also challenge those who participate, to begin to value and recognize the significance that improved opportunities and inclusion from underrepresented groups have at all levels of society.”

QR codes on the beer label and at the Café event will help direct those looking to learn more online here. As part of this project, Bell’s will make donations to two local organizations, Mothers of Hope and Black Wall Street

Beyond Juneteenth

To continue the narrative, Bell’s will also host a virtual event with Dr. Michelle Johnson, a public scholar in the fields of African American history, literature, and cultural production. She will discuss Southwest Michigan in the context of national traditions where Black people created and maintained spaces of economic and recreational self-definition.

“Farms, Resorts, and Nightclubs: Black Autonomy and Southwest Michigan” will be held on Friday, June 25, at 4 p.m. For details on how to attend this free, virtual event, go to

More on Bell’s Celebration Series

Following Seneca Village, Bell’s will highlight and celebrate Latinx employees as part of this series. That beer will debut later this year. Additional details will be shared on Bell’s website and social media as they become available.

Celebrate Diversity 12-packs (3 bottles each of Unite Dry-Hopped Kölsch, Unite Hibiscus Saison, Alliance Lemon Lager, and Goin’ Dark are available to purchase at the Bell’s General Store now (supplies are limited).

Previous Celebration Series releases

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