Food Service & Agriculture, Marketing, PR & Advertising, and Sustainability

Brewery releases Beer the Change report

March 18, 2016
| By Pat Evans |
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Vivant Neighborhood
Brewery Vivant has become a mainstay in the East Hills neighborhood and also acts as a hub for sustainability, community engagement and charitable giving. Photo by Michael Buck

A local brewery is “cow neutral.”

Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids released its annual Beer the Change report yesterday, where the company lists its sustainability achievements, including a stat called cow neutral.

Last year, Brewery Vivant sold 19,495 hamburgers, equating to 21.7 cows consumed by the brewery’s patrons.

The brewery then calculated how many cows were able to eat off the 324,945 pounds of grain given to a local cattle farmer. At 25 pounds per day, the brewery fed 35.6 cows last year.

Other highlights from 2015 include Brewery Vivant being named the Local First Change Agent and the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum Sustainable Business of the Year.

The brewery was also voted Best Brewery Cuisine during the Dining Awards by Grand Rapids Magazine, a sister publication of the Business Journal.

“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,” said Kris Spaulding, co-owner and sustainability director, Brewery Vivant. “Beer the Change is the closest we will get to green beer. No food coloring here.”

Economic stats

Brewery Vivant saw 63.5 percent of its expenses head to businesses within 250 miles of the pub, including 58.5 percent within Michigan. Nearly 26 percent of food purchases were made within 250 miles.

Brewery Vivant sold 4,686 barrels of beer last year, including 29 percent in the pub and the rest into distribution.

The brewery also saw more than 5,000 items sold from its shop.


Brewery Vivant surpassed its goal of giving 1 percent of sales to local charities, including 25 percent of that to the East Hills neighborhood.

Last year, the company donated 1.02 percent to charity, including 47.1 percent to the East Hills neighborhood.

The company also raised $14,585 during its monthly charity nights, which sends 25 percent of the day’s food sales to a local charity, and donated $21,453 to Congress Elementary school and 7,200 sack suppers through Kids’ Food Basket.

The company also strives for 200 employee volunteer hours, and its employees donated 176.5 hours last year.


Brewery Vivant says it sent less than 1 percent of its waste to the Kent County incinerator, recycled 5,032 cubic feet of waste and had a 95.5-percent landfill diversion rate at its Wood Aged Beer Fest.

Employees live close to Brewery Vivant as well, with 39.3 percent living within a mile and 84 percent living within five miles.

The company also purchased 100 percent renewable electricity through Consumers Energy.

Full report

The company has posted its 2015 Beer the Change report online

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