Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Solar Powered Beer! Brewery Vivant Invests In The Future: More Beer & More [Solar] Power

Written by  Paul Starr
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Brewery Vivant will celebrate another milestone in sustainability efforts with their recent installation of a 192 solar panel array atop their production brewery and adjoining pub. A ribbon cutting is planned for “Monk Club” Tuesday, July 19 at 4pm at the Pub. Mayor Bliss and other public officials will join owners, staff, monk club members and the public at large for ribbon cutting and official toast.
Renewable energy has been a goal since opening in December 2010, with the hope of achieving 10% from onsite sources. This installation projects Brewery Vivant will be able to produce 20% of its energy needs using the sun, in addition to purchasing renewable energy through Consumers Power and its Green Generations program. The 54Kw system covers the chapel (pub) roof and adjacent brewery facility. Brewery Vivant partnered with non-profit Green Brewery Project and with Michigan-based Renovo Energy, LLC for this project, who have also helped breweries like Short’s, Dark Horse, and Arbor reach sustainable energy solutions.

Brewery Vivant’s solar power sustainability measure comes in addition to its LEED silver certification, B-Corp certification, and Bicycle Friendly Business status. “It has been a process.” Owner & Sustainability Director, Kris Spaulding says, “With this most recent expansion, we felt ready and more able to invest in solar.” The brewery recently installed three new 60-barrel fermentation tanks at 925 Cherry Street which will bring their annual capacity from 5,000 barrels (31 gal/barrel) to 9,000. “We make craft beer [and from-scratch cooking], but we also want to make a positive impact on our community.” Spaulding says, “Investing in our collective future with sustainable energy is one way we can do this.”

The announcement comes as a part of several major projects Brewery Vivant has been working toward and has achieved:

  • 192 Solar Panels Array on the roof, to produce 20% of energy needs on-site;
  • Squeeze in a few more brew tanks, to increase capacity of neighborhood brewery from 5000bbl to 9000bbl;
  • Release sour & wood aged beers at a distributable scale via new Plein de Vie series (June 5th);
  • Source burger beef from local Michigan farm, family-owned Wernette Beef (enough to supply the 10,000lbs of beef to grill up over 20,000 burgers annually at the pub);
  • Re-certify as a B-Corporation via Philadelphia-based non-profit B-Lab (In 2014 Brewery Vivant became the 4th West Michigan B-Corp with 86 points of the 80 necessary. After an onsite audit for re-certification, BV achieved a score of 110);
  • Partnering for the second year in a row with Kids Food Basket and neighboring Congress Elementary School to underwrite the Sack Suppers program (for each Brewery Vivant kids meal purchased, BV will donate 5 sack suppers)

The solar power ribbon cutting ceremony will take place next Tuesday July 19 at 4pm at Brewery Vivant, located in the East Hills neighborhood at 925 Cherry Street, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49506. All are welcome.

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.