AT A GLANCE
The photos below offer a snapshot of sustainability at Bell's.
In the news
More ways to connect
Investing in sustainability
The art of brewing is an age-old tradition that represents humans’ deep relationship with the natural environment. From the cultivation of grain and hops to fermentation, it is abundantly clear that the health of our natural environment heavily influences the craft quality of our beer.
When most people think of the word “sustainability”, they think of “green” or “environmentally-friendly.” Though these associations are helpful, they do not always tell the whole story.
We view sustainability as the capacity for our business to thrive in future generations through the practices of environmental stewardship, economic robustness and social integrity.
Sustainability is about more than caring about the Earth. It is awareness of how an individual or organization impacts their surroundings over the long-term. It is the idea that if we are aware of how we impact our surroundings, we can act in ways that provide for economic, environmental, and social benefits to ourselves (and our children) in the future.
Bell’s is consistently trying to act in ways that increase and preserve natural resources. Here are some examples:
• Our farm in Shepherd, Michigan uses no-till farming practices that support surrounding ecosystems by minimizing erosion and the use of water-contaminating fertilizers, while improving soil quality. Barley grown at our farm is used for Bell's seasonal Christmas Ale and Harvest Ale along with our year round Midwestern Pale Ale. More information on the Bell's Farm can be found here.
• A modular, extensive sedum green roof (shown at the top of this page) above our conditioning warehouse increases insulation efficiency and extends the life of a waterproofing membrane.
• Our production facility roof also has a light colored exterior membrane to decrease the amount of heat radiation and the need for heating, venting and air conditioning.
• Our brewing processes produce approximately 50,000 pounds of spent grain daily. A local farmer picks this up twice a day and uses it to feed his dairy cows.
• With the Adopt a Highway program, employees of Bell’s Brewery pick up roughly 50-60 bags of trash along M-96 three times a year.
• We have partnered with nearby Avalon Farms to provide employees the opportunity to participate in their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Avalon farms is a Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program certified operation located 10 miles away in Climax. The partnership allows us to support a local business and environmentally responsible agriculture while providing fresh produce with minimal food miles (thereby reducing the emissions of Green house gas associated with its transport).
• The kitchen staff at the Eccentric Café meticulously separates all compostable scraps from food preparation. We turn those onion ends and carrot peals into high quality compost with the help of our friends at Common Ground Community Gardens, sawdust from the same craftsman who built our back bar, and a whole bunch of red worms (OK, the worms do the real work). The compost is then used at the community gardenand our beer garden, averting the need for chemical fertilizers and in 2013 diverting over two tons of waste from landfills
• High efficiency lighting includes reflective light tubes located throughout our buildings that provide daylight harvesting with occupancy controls.
• Outside air is used to cool the cold storage warehouse during colder months.
• A kettle stack condenser reclaims 10.6 million BTUs a day.
• A heat exchanger not only cools wort so yeast can thrive to ferment healthy beer, it also pre-heats carbon filtered water that goes into subsequent batches, reclaiming 17 million BTUs a day.
• A 16-ton closed loop geothermal field provides heat for our corporate office building.
• An 85-ton geothermal field that is roughly the size of half a football field controls the temperature for our Comstock Brewery using glycol filled tubes to exchange heat eight feet underground.
• An ammonia based refrigeration system installed in 2014 will save over a million kilowatt-hours per year.
• Energy efficient LED lighting illuminates all exterior areas.
• Heat recycling: A new energy storage system stores 3.3 million BTUs.
• Our water heater is 94-percent overall efficient.
• Five large fans reduce the need for air conditioning and heating at our brewery and Logistics Center.
• A 400 hp process boiler with 84-percent overall efficiency conserves and recycles energy for steam production used in all process heating, mashing, boiling, keg cleaning, and sterilization.
• All cardboard, paper, stretch wrap, green plastic banding, keg caps, wood, electronics, batteries, copper, stainless steel and black iron from the production process are recycled.
• Our Comstock Brewery landfill diversion rate rose to 93 percent from 50 percent in 2007.
• Sub-meters track water use in the brewhouse, cellar and on both the bottling and kegging lines, reducing water usage.
• A cellar C.I.P. (Clean-in-Place) system has reduced the amount of water to clean tanks by about 65 percent.
• A filler vacuum pump design reduced water that goes to drain from 15 to 2 gallons per minute, saving about 2.5 million gallons of water annually.