A Watershed Moment: Local Brewery Practices Sustainability

On today’s episode we hear from Kris Spaulding, Sustainability Director and Owner of Brewery Vivant, who discusses their LEED certified buildings and other sustainable aspects of their business.

“Sustainability is one the founding principles of the Brewery,” says Spaulding. The brewery opened in 2010, by owners, Jason and Kris Spaulding, who sought to pay close attention to environmental health, the health of the community and also economics. Once a funeral home chapel that was dormant for five years, the building at 925 Cherry, was found structurally secure and beneficial in creating a “green” business. Being in an area that was community-focused, while also being able to contribute to the health and vitality of the community, aligned with one of the main goals of the Brewery.

“I think it all worked out pretty well to preserve the beauty of it, while also upgrading it with environmental friendliness in mind,” says Spaulding, regarding the transformation of the building.

One of the main accomplishments of the building, is its LEED certification. To conserve resources, Spaulding polished the concrete floor that was already in place, adding a unique aesthetic. All new wood was either FSC certified or derived from old barn wood or fruit and vegetable crates. Energy efficient light bulbs and even a bicycle-powered television are featured inside. One of the main differences that sets The Brewery Vivant apart from other breweries, is their use of cans over bottles because of the smaller environmental impact of aluminum over glass.

Jason and Kris toured many French and Belgium breweries while in Germany, which influenced their community focus and also some of their cuisine. Local food and produce is not only beneficial to the community and local economy, but also reflects the changing seasons. Much of the menu changes in accordance to the available harvest of the region.

To listen to this episode, click here.

“A Watershed Moment” is a weekly radio program focused on environmental news and happenings in West Michigan, plus solutions for living a greener life.  Broadcast on WYCE-FM 88.1 on Tuesdays at 8:30am and 5:30pm, this program is produced by Grand Rapids Community Media Center and West Michigan Environmental Action Council.

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