With nationally recognized beers such as Two Hearted Ale, Oberon Ale, and Kalamazoo Stout, Bell’s Brewery is an industry champion when it comes to brewing great beers. Aside from producing award-winning beer, the team at Bell’s has another passion: Sustainability. Bell's states on their website, “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.”
Bell’s focuses their sustainable efforts on four key areas: Reducing Impact, Energy Efficiency, Recycling, and Water. These approaches all align with the areas of focus of the Iowa Green Brewery Certification, being: Environmental Planning, Energy Efficiency, Solid Waste Diversion & Disposal, and Water Quality & Conservation.
Having a 2017 production volume of 464,000 bbls, Bell’s has become the seventh-largest craft brewing company in the United States. With high production levels such as these, Bell's and other large-scale production breweries are making huge commitments to being industry stewards especially when it comes to implementing sustainable brewing practices.
A unique process at Bell’s Brewery has been the implementation of their Bio-Energy Building. This facility processes more than 100,000 gallons of water a day. The wastewater from the facility is used to convert pollutants into renewable energy sources which will be used at the brewery.
In 2016, the Bell’s Bio-Energy Building received the Engineering Honorable Conceptor (sic) Award on behalf of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan.
Bell’s is also very conscious of their solid waste diversion and disposal habits. In 2018, they recycled 1,510,314 lbs. of material and had a 2018 landfill diversion rate of 92% at their brewery in Comstock, MI.
The outlook that Bell’s Brewing has on sustainability is commendable. According to Bell's: “Sustainability is an 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.” Craft brewing industry leaders such as Bell’s are paving the way for many nano and microbreweries across the United States who are looking for their own ways to brew green beer all year!
About the Author
Brewery Sustainability and Efficiency Intern
Iowa Waste Reduction Center