Water is one of beer’s most essential ingredients, affecting its taste, aroma, and overall quality. To be responsible stewards and protect this resource, we must focus on protecting life-sustaining clean water, not just for beer, but for everyone. Here are five facts...
One of our core values is responsibility. We recognize a responsibility to minimize the impacts our business has on the environment and have made sustainability a focus. We work hard every day to find new opportunities to minimize our footprint across the whole brewing process: from the natural resources we use to the systems we’ve designed to brew in, the recyclability of the packaging we use to sharing our best practices with other craft brewers.
Here are some of the many examples of what we’re doing to reduce the environmental impact of our beer:
How We Approach Sustainability
Responsible Resource Use
An 85-ton geothermal field installed eight feet beneath Bell’s two-acre hop yard uses glycol filled tubes to exchange heat and offset heating ventilation and air conditioning demand in the brewery offices.
Ammonia refrigeration is used at our brewery. Compared with other cooling solutions, it is highly efficient, does not deplete the ozone layer and has zero potential to contribute to global warming.
A green roof above our barrel-aging warehouse increases insulation, reduces storm water runoff, and extends the roof’s life.
LED lights are 75 percent more efficient than incandescent bulbs. The LED lights at our brewery, office building, and logistics center conserve 180,000 kWh of energy each year, enough energy to power 22 homes annually.
A CO2 vaporizer repurposes the heat generated from wort fermentation to convert liquid CO2 into CO2 gas that can then be used for brewing and packaging. This reduces our electricity demand by 190,000 kWh per year.
We redesigned our foam traps to save 15 million gallons of water each year.
In 2020, our recycling program helped us achieve a diversion rate of 83%. When we include spent grain that is sent as cattle feed, our diversion rate is 99%.
Our “Cube” processes wastewater from brewing and packaging, removing suspended solids from malt and hops and converting its biological oxygen demand into renewable electricity and heat that is used to offset brewing operations.
Since 2017, all disposable service items including plates, utensils and straws at our Eccentric Café have been compostable, with the exception of plastic cups which are recycled. This has tripled the Café’s diversion rate.
In 2020, we opened a recycling co-op that allows area brewers and manufacturers to drop off grain bags and supersacks which could otherwise not be recycled in Michigan. These materials are recycled through single stream aggregation and densification.
Founding member of the Great Lakes Business Network.
Member of the Wellhead Protection Committee since 2015.
Member of Brewers for Clean Water since 2022.
Sideyard Ale will return along with two, new limited fresh-hopped beers
Brewed fresh to drink fresh: Bell’s Sideyard Ale will return with limited, expanded distribution (in 2021) along with two brand new fresh-hopped beers. Joining the brewery’s Fresh-Hopped New England-style IPA this year will be Sideyard Crystal Ale and Sideyard Triumph...
Bell’s, other Kalamazoo businesses team up to keep plastic out of landfills
A Kalamazoo-area recycling “co-op,” that includes six local craft breweries, will divert about 26,000 lbs. of plastic per year from Michigan landfills. The collaborative led by the Kalamazoo Nature Center and us applied for and received a $12,000 Recycling Market...
Bell’s Honored with Energy Star Challenge Award for Sustainability Efforts
Imagine a stretch of highway connecting Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids returned to forest. That is roughly 501 acres worth of pavement or about 380 football fields. It’s also the environmental equivalent of Bell’s Brewery’s energy efficiency improvements this year. The...
Composting at the Eccentric Cafe is part of our commitment to sustainability
As part of our continued sustainability efforts, the Eccentric Café has resumed composting and is offering one of the few customer-facing composting options in the Kalamazoo area. Now when you’re at the Café you’ll have three choices: regular trash, plastic cups, and...