Craft breweries, especially in Grand Rapids, are leading a sustainability movement. Each brewery has its own way of tackling that issue. Here are five breweries influencing the way Grand Rapids breweries look at sustainability:

Brewery Vivant focuses on building a sustainable community by investing in local materials. 50 percent of Brewery Vivant's food input and 25 percent of its drink input is grown within 250 miles of its East Hills location.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids (taken by Bree Girard)


Brewery Vivant

Brewery Vivant has become a shining example of sustainability among brewers. Each year, the brewery releases its Beer The Change report, highlighting their sustainability efforts.

Co-founders Kris and Jason Spaulding take great care to ensure Brewery Vivant will be driving change in the East Hills community for years to come.

Brewery Vivant donates one percent of sales to local charities, generates 10 percent of its energy with more than 120 rooftop solar panels, and is the first LEED certified microbrewery in the world.

Kris Spaulding is also on the Sustainability Subcommittee of the nationally-recognized Brewers Association and helped start the West Michigan B Corporation Network.

Founded by two lifelong local residents in 2012, the Mitten Brewing Co. has emphasized sustainability and charitable giving since it's inception.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids (taken by Bree Girard)


Mitten Brewing Co.

Mitten Brewing Co. co-owners, Chris Andrus and Max Trierweiler, want to make sure the Grand Rapids community knows the brewery is focused on charitable and sustainable efforts.

Each month, the Mitten Brewing Co. donates a generous portion of its sales to area nonprofits and takes special initiatives on other projects, like the neighborhood Harrison Park Elementary School and Habitat for Humanity.

Since 2012, the Mitten Brewing Co. has raised more than $150,000 for partner organizations.

In 2017, the brewery launched its own foundation, The Mitten Brewing Foundation. This winter, the brewery paired with apparel company, The Mitten State, and the West Grand Neighborhood Organization to offer a West Side Energy Assistance Program, offering up to $500 per household to help pay heating bills. A similar grant was issued in 2016 for neighborhood improvements.

Fact: All napkins, to-go products, and straws at BarFly Ventures' establishments are made from renewable resources and plants.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


Founders Brewing Co.

By far the largest brewery in Grand Rapids, Founders Brewing Co. is no slouch when it comes to its sustainability and charitable efforts.

With millions of gallons of water making its way through the brewery each year, Founders makes a point to reduce its water usage as much as possible.

In 2018, Founders hopes to use no more than 3.89 barrels of water for every barrel of beer it produces — which was 460,000 barrels of beer in 2017— no more than 160 megajoules of energy for every barrel, and to divert 90 percent of its waste from landfills.

The brewery is also a major reason the city of Grand Rapids has decided to move forward with the addition of a $21 million dollar biodigester at its Water Resource Recovery Facility. The biodigester will convert food waste into energy from nearby Founders, Coca-Cola, Amway, and SET Environmental facilities.

In 2017, Founders launched its corporate giving platform, The Big Pitcher, designed to give back to local, regional, and national causes that the brewery is passionate about.

Founders is also a major driver behind the Grand Rapids Whitewater organization, that focuses on revitalizing the Grand River (Note: That’s the river that puts the “Grand” in Grand Rapids!)

As a city that was once referred to as the Green Building Capitol due to city-wide sustainability efforts, Grand Rapids breweries are doing their part to keep an environmentally-conscious community.

Looking for more breweries to add to your Brewsader® Passport or for the best brew in your neighborhood? Start your search at the Beer City, USA page. iPhone and Android users, don’t forget to download the new Beer City Brewsader app to digitize your Brewsader Passport!

BarFly Ventures’ HopCat and Grand Rapids Brewing Co.

BarFly Ventures establishments — including HopCat and Grand Rapids Brewing Co.— diverted more than 90 percent of its waste from the landfill in 2016 and recycled 13,800 cubic yards of its waste.

In 2017, BarFly Ventures was recognized as the Sustainable Business of the Year by the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum thanks to its waste elimination efforts and partnerships with sustainability nonprofits across the country.

BarFly is a founding member of multiple sustainable-focused organizations, including the U.S. Green Building Council’s Grand Rapids 2030 District and the Great Lakes Business Network.

The company donated nearly $8,000 to clean water efforts, such as For Love of Water and the Flint Water Fund.

Founders' goal is for each employee to dedicate one hour of community service each year. In 2017, Founders employees dedicated 450 service hours.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


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