If you’re reading this you’re too close to the screen
“Thomas Mann wrote that he would rather participate in life than write a hundred stories. Giacometti was once run down by a car, and he recalled falling in to a lucid faint, a sudden exhilaration,
Who We Are
Why the name Brewery Vivant? (pronounced Ve-vaunt) Much of the inspiration for our beer came out of a trip to the French speaking Belgian countryside visiting small farmhouse breweries. The beer we were excited about most comes from the southern part of Belgium, called Wallonia. This area is also the inspiration of our logo which is modeled from that region's flag and was created to honor the beer and people of that region. The word "vivant" translates as "to be alive", or "to be lively" which we thought fitting to the type of brewery we want to become. There is also the French term "bon vivant" which translates to "the good life". It is often used in reference to people who enjoy eating and drinking well...and that is what we are all about.
Brewery Vivant is the realization of years of dreaming and much discussion of what a great brewery can be. What makes our brewery different from the rest is the way we approach our craft and operate our business. The core of Brewery Vivant can be found at the crossroads of three passions:
- Our love of the tradition and artistic approach of the Belgian & French styles of beers
- Devotion to using local sources for ingredients and running our business according to the three pillars of sustainability; Environmental Integrity, Social Equity, and Economic Viability
- Sharing the experience of how beer and food can be paired to uplift the enjoyment of both
About our Owners
Jason Spaulding is the President of Brewery Vivant. He has been brewing beer since college (or maybe a little before that but don’t tell his mother) where he discovered that beer can taste good if made well. He started at Hope College where he majored in soccer, but graduated from GVSU with a BS in Health Science and the intent to become a physical therapist. Luckily for all of us, a trip to Colorado changed his plan and instead he opened New Holland Brewing Company in 1997. Jason led NHBC for 8 years, establishing himself in the brewing community as an innovator and all around good guy. NHBC was a success, but Jason departed when he realized that he and his partner had conflicting dreams for the company.
Unsure of his next quest, Jason spent two years working as VP of Business Services at Lakeshore Advantage in Zeeland. He learned a lot about what it takes to successfully run a small business, but more importantly, he confirmed that the only thing he had passion for was owning another brewery. With that, Jason threw out his neckties and enrolled at the Doemens Brewing Academy in Munich, Germany. At the end of his course, Jason and Kris traveled through small towns in Southern Belgium and Northern France visiting small farmhouse breweries. They tasted incredible beers and met many artistic brewers, building the foundation of Vivant.
Upon his return, Jason worked for a year as a Bar Manager with Zingerman’s Roadhouse in Ann Arbor where he learned their secrets to great food and great service. He then returned to West Michigan, found a funeral home chapel & fell in love with it, found ways to open the business despite the bad (really bad) economy and sucky bankers. Now he is making beer and happy again.
Kris Spaulding leads Vivant’s sustainability efforts and manages all aspects of human resources. She was the driving force in the pursuit of our LEED certification and is a devote supporter of community efforts and charitable giving. Kris and Jason often joke that Jason likes to make money and Kris likes to give it away. You can tell who wears the pants in the relationship as one of Vivant’s goals is to give away 10% of net profits to local charities.
Kris has always been passionate for environmental and social issues and received a BS from U of M in Natural Resources and Environment. She started out her career in the non-profit sector with USPIRG (Public Interest Research Group) where she was the canvas director in the St Louis office focusing on environmental advocacy, consumer rights and government reform. She returned to her hometown of Holland, MI and despite her general distaste for corporate America, got a job at the socially & environmentally conscious Herman Miller. She ended up working at HMI for 12 years where she held roles in dealer development, product management, and the environmental team. Kris also received an MBA from GVSU during this time to enhance her understanding of the business world. Although her time at HMI was very influential and educational, she always felt better suited working in a small business where she can wear many hats and better see the impact of her work and decisions.
Oliver Spaulding is the future leader of Vivant, but he has a lot to learn considering he was born just 9 days after the brewery opened. His favorite thing to do is use spray bottles and brooms to clean the brewery, although if his parents let him use the hose he’d be really happy! When he's in the right mood, he also love to flirt with guests and Vivant staff.