Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Brewery Vivant brews “green beer” for St Patrick’s Day

Written by  Paul Starr
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In 2015, Brewery Vivant sent less than 1% of its waste to the Kent County incinerator. This and other facts related to the company’s environmental, financial, and community sustainability focus are to be unveiled Thursday, March 17. Brewery Vivant will release its fifth annual Beer The Change report on St. Patrick’s Day. It is Vivant’s version of the Irish themed holiday’s ubiquitous “green beer”.
“At Brewery Vivant we really try to champion living the Bon Vivant (good life), which includes enjoying good beer, good food, and good friends, elevating the enjoyment of all,” says owner & sustainability director, Kris Spaulding, “[The] Beer the Change [report] is the closest we will get to green beer. No food coloring here.” Each year, the certified B-Corp publishes its progress towards its company goals, all of which are mission driven. The March release of Beer the Change holds this business accountable to what its marketing claims it is doing. And indeed, the brewery’s report highlights the strides, shortcomings, and silliness that come with operating a triple bottom line small business. A few of the stats calculated include:
  • 1.02% of sales to charity (made the goal of donating 1%! Nearly half of this going to the East Hills neighborhood, where the brewery is located)
  • 100% renewably powered electricity
  • Less than 1% of waste goes to Kent County incinerator
  • 63.5% of purchases are local (The goal is to make 90% of purchases local, within 250 mile radius)
  • Cow neutrality (a silly stat you’ll have to read the report to find out about!)


This report is released to the public for two reasons. According to Spaulding, “It holds us as a company accountable to our staff and to our guests that hear our story.” The brewery sees some 7,000 visitors a week. “Releasing the report and having news media take notice”, Spaulding points out, “also draws attention to the business movement afoot in West Michigan.”

There is a growing number of West Michigan businesses pursuing B Corp (Benefit Corporation) certifications. Recognizing that business impacts and serves more than just shareholders, B Corps meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems. Certified B Corps are dedicated to using business as a force for good. There are currently 10 B Corps in West Michigan including Cascade Engineering, Gazelle Sports, and The GFB. Brewery Vivant’s Beer The Change report shows how a real business can make a real impact on its neighborhood and environment, as well as maintaining a profitable business-- one that employs over 60 Grand Rapids residents.

“Also, we make beer”, Spaulding jokes. The brewery will commemorate this year’s Beer The Change by releasing a Brewer’s Reserve series Saison Vivant. The beer is a French style saison, in line with the brewery’s Belgian and French influence. Guests that visit the brewery on March 17 will have the chance to participate in a Beer The Change challenge and receive a dollar off beer all day.

About Brewery Vivant

The brewery is located in the East Hills neighborhood of Grand Rapids, in a renovated funeral chapel built in the early 1900’s. Their staff of around 60 employees specialize in Belgian/French inspired beers and fare in a completely unique setting. Husband and wife partners Jason and Kris Spaulding opened the doors for business in December of 2010. Vivant beers are distributed throughout Michigan and the greater Chicago area. They are the first commercial brewery in the nation to receive Silver LEED Certification from the USGBC. Additionally they are 100% renewable powered, a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Business, and are a certified B Corporation.  Beer the Change®!

Paul Starr

Paul Starr

Paul Starr is the creator of the I'm a Beer Hound and one of the organizer and the driving force behind Art & Craft Beerfest, Lansing Beer Fest, Beerfest at the Ballpark Spring & Fall. When he's not working on Beer Hound he's probably watching the Lions, Tigers or Red Wings. Being a recent new Dad of twins, he doesn't have much extra time these days for mischief.