ABOUT PEOPLE. PLANET. PROFIT. ABOUT US | PHILOSOPHY | THE OWNERS | BREWERY STAFF | PUB STAFF 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 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 most excited about 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 strive to be. The French term "bon vivant" which translates to "the good life” is often used in reference to people who enjoy eating and drinking well...and that is what we are all about. PHILOSOPHY LEAN. NICE. PROFITABLE. LEAN We will operate without excess square footage, equipment or labor hours. NICE We will run our company being nice to our customers, co-workers, community and our environment. Our brewery is designed to offer a great experience while being conscious of our environment. PROFITABLE We have identified a ‘“sweet spot” of 5,000 bbls of beer produced where we can maximize our output with our brew system and be profitable. Our goal is to get this volume of production, be profitable and stay there. THE OWNERS A FAMILY BUSINESS JASON SPAULDING Jason Spaulding President of Brewery Vivant, Jason Spaulding, has been brewing beer since college where he discovered just how great beer can taste when it’s made well. A ski trip to Colorado following his West Michigan undergraduate education diverted his attention from other pursuits and led him to open New Holland Brewing Company in 1997. Jason established himself in the brewing world as an innovator and all around good guy while leading NHBC. After eight years, differing visions compelled him to part ways and build the Bon Vivant brewery we now enjoy.Jason enrolled at the Doemens Brewing Academy in Munich, Germany and continued to travel through Southern Belgium and Northern France with wife and Brewery Vivant Co-owner, Kris Spaulding, to visit small farmhouse breweries. They tasted incredible beers and met many artistic brewers, building the foundation of Vivant. Back to the Mitten, Jason managed the bar at Zingerman’s Roadhouse in Ann Arbor to learn their secrets to great food and great service. Returning to West Michigan, Jason was on the hunt for a neighborhood space that could house a production brewery. As fate would have it, he found an old, historic funeral home chapel, fell in love with it, and somehow found ways to open the business despite the bad (really bad) economy. It was meant to be. KRIS SPAULDING Kris Spaulding Owner & Sustainability Director, Kris Spaulding, manages the people and planet aspects of Vivant’s triple bottom line focus while her husband and business partner Jason concentrates on the company’s product and profitability. She was the driving force in the pursuit of Vivant’s LEED and B Corporation certifications and is an advocate for businesses engaging with their community in a meaningful and impactful way. Kris has always been passionate about environmental and social issues, and received a BS from University of Michigan in Natural Resources and Environment. Kris earned an MBA from Grand Valley State University while working at Herman Miller. During her 12 years with the company she worked on dealer development, product management, and the environmental team. Kris plays an active role in building the West Michigan B Corporation Network, is the board chair of Local First, is on the Sustainability subcommittee for the national Brewers Association and was named one of the 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan in 2016. FUTURE LEADERS Future Leaders 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. Oliver wants to be a scientist and a daddy when he grows up.Siena Spaulding joined us August 1, 2013 and appears to have the strong, independent woman gene that all women in her mom’s family are blessed with. At this time we aren’t sure if she wants to be a puppy or the boss when she grows up. Stay tuned. BREWERY STAFF WHO MAKES YOUR BEER? JUST CURIOUS. JACOB DERYLO Jacob Derylo Head BrewerJacob brewed with New Holland Brewing Company for 10 years prior to heading up brewing at Brewery Vivant. We knew he was the only head brewer for Vivant because of his artistic skill and passion for creating great and unique beers. Jacob is one of those guys who stays until the job is done no matter what. His dedication comes through in the beer which we think you will agree. You can often catch him having a well earned pint at the end of the day at the Pub. If you see a bearded man with glass in hand, wet pants, tall boots and stains on his shirt that is most likely him. ED RUBLE Ed Ruble Production ManagerEd Ruble has been fascinated by how things work ever since he was a young boy. Ed’s curiosity led him to study Chemical Engineering at Northwestern University before catching the brewing bug in Colorado during a gap year. He worked as Assistant Brewer at Avery Brewing Company in Boulder during his life on The Front Range and he knew he wanted to make brewing his career. After continuing to travel, live, and learn from places such as Argentina and Australia, Ed returned to the United States to pursue work in the brewing industry once more. After 8 years working at Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Newark, New Jersey Ed returned to his craft beer roots by joining Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Over 4 years later Ed had achieved street cred with the Mitten’s craft beer industry and joined Brewery Vivant as a consultant who wouldn’t stop showing up for work…he officially joined the team as Production Manager in 2016. BRIAN KUSZYNSKI Brian "the bomber" Kuszynski Brewer & Wood ManBrian has battled it out in the brewery cleaning kegs, digging out the mash, and has earned his stripes. His love for sour beer has no bounds and we look to keep these beers rolling out through our barrel age program. Brian manages the three 40-barrel foeders, two giant maturation tanks, and countless wood barrels of our Wood Program (Plein de Vie, Bourbon Barrel series, and Wood-Aged Beer Fest entries). You'll find him jamming to Umphreys McGee around wood most work days. Don't walk through the brewery with food unless you plan to share it with Brian as he is always hungry. One of his hidden talents is his adept skill at making bundt coffee cakes which he often shares if you are here on the right day. CHRIS MITUS Chris Mitus Brewer & Firkin ManOne of seven Chris's at Vivant, Mitus makes sure to set himself apart through his unique personality and ridiculous knowledge of beer. He started here as a server, but it was apparent this Chris had more to offer us. Mitus got his first taste of working in the brewery at Vivant when he designed and helped brew the very popular Lange Wapper in November of 2011. His passion for home brewing officially coincided with his career at Vivant in the fall of 2012 when he was asked to work in the brewery part-time. Today, this guy is pulling long hours, full time, and managing our firkin program. Next time you visit the Pub, ask your server what is pouring from the Beer Engine and know that Mitus is behind the magic. JON BRANDER Jon Brander Brewer & Lab ManJon (with no H!) has been home brewing since 2010, which he got into because he needed a hobby and beer tastes good. The brewing bug had bitten and he soon found himself on the packaging line at New Holland. Jon is one of the few human beings to actually be using his degree in this day and age (biology and chemistry from GVSU, Go Lakers!), as he heads up the BV lab. This guy is quiet but is always ready with a helping hand, a can-do attitude, and sure smile. When not dressed in the Rooster work shirt, you'll find him decked out in his green backpack, ready for any outdoor adventure Michigan may throw at him and his wife: Backpacking, mountain biking, or cross country skiing. A known chips & salsa connoisseur and a lover of free popcorn (dive bars beware!), Jon embraces the Brewery Vivant lifestyle pairing our beer with the classiest of foods. All in all, he's a good sport and friendly enough to ask a brewing question if you see him in the Pub. JOSH CHILCOTE Josh Chilcote Brewer & Pilot ManOriginally from the First State, Delaware, Josh has a fondness of being near water and good seafood (thanks a lot Atlantic ocean and Chesapeake Bay!!). Grand valley State University and Lake Michigan brought him to the Mitten where he started out in the engineering program and eventually found himself completing the Athletic Training Program (think of it as a first response Physical Therapist). He made his first beer on the stove top with a college roommate and a home brew kit. It didn't take long for this perfectionist to find the line between passion and obsession quite blurry. Between classes and homebrewing, he struck up a friendship with Ham Family Farms (local farm in Allendale) who allowed him take care of growing a small row of hops (6-10 plants) on the farm. This lead to a four row hop yard with 125 plants. Ask him about his plants, man! He's put in some time around the GR brewing scene and most recently Trumer Pils in California. Aside from all things beer, brewing, and science, Josh is the one in a cycling kit, pedaling into work each morning no matter the weather. Please don't hit him! One fact you might not know about Josh unless you spent 8+ hours a day with him in a brewery: he whistles while he works. BROOKS TWIST Brooks Twist Prophet, Operations ManagerHaving accepted the title, “Vivant Prophet”, without explanation Brooks Twist is an all-around-get-the-job-done fella and Director of Operations as Brewery Vivant. Brooks joined the team in 2010 following a brief period of contemplation and future planning while working with his family’s business. He switched gears and pursued an opportunity with the brewery when he figured he could score some free beer. The irony of Brooks’ role is that he now prohibits others from scoring a free pint at the end of the day. Brooks comes from a family known for passionate pursuits. His namesake and great-grandfather was one of many entrepreneurs in the family that cared to make someone’s day better after meeting with them. This charismatic gentleman gets to work with each department at the brewery on enhancing communication throughout all operations. If ever you find yourself in need of the answer to an unreasonable specific question about Brewery Vivant, Brooks twist is the guy to ask. KATE AVERY Kate Avery Abbess of Beer, Director of Sales & MarketingKate is a proud Spartan graduate of Michigan State University and collector of History degrees. She is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and popcorn fiend. Kate cut her craft beer teeth giving tours at Harpoon Brewery, in Boston, Massachusetts, and soon joined the sales team in Greater Boston. Now, back at home in the Mitten, she is happy to be promoting a small, sustainability-focused, community-minded brewery that happens to make some great beer and packages it in a Michigan-Adventure-friendly way: the can. You'll find her toting cans all around this great state kayaking, hiking, running, and driving her little Volkswagen (unopened cans in the car, that is). RYAN "R1" REICHLE Ryan "R1" REICHLE Wandering Monk West, Sales RepresentativeRyan spent the first nine months of his Vivant life managing the brand new warehouse space. His wizardry helped make it a smoothly operating machine and he traded in his windowless brick building and lengthy conversations with the forklift for the bright lights and beautiful smiles of the Grand Rapids general public. Wandering Monk is a suitable title, as you can find him in the back of a canoe or sitting around a bonfire on most weekends when he isn't home making marginal improvements to his lawn out in the 'burbs. If you feel like getting him talking, ask him about the Chicago Cubs, mediocre rounds of golf, or what it's like to marry someone who lived on three different continents while they were dating. RYAN "R2" ENGEMANN Ryan "R2" Engemann Wandering Monk East, Sales RepresentativeRyan is no stranger to the craft beer scene, first having worked for Right Brain in Traverse City and then Short's in Bellaire. While working for Right Brain, Ryan became the first Certified Cicerone® in Northern Michigan. After a year of doing South-East Michigan sales for a large corporate brewery, and volunteering at a nearby non-profit taproom in order to stay sane, he is ecstatic to be working for a locally-focused, sustainably-minded company. He is a big fan of Belgian and sour ales and loves spending time outdoors. When not out it the market talking about beer, Ryan is a true wandering Monk. If you can find can find him out in the wild he will probably be looking for adventure in his trusty kayak, out on a mountain bike, or hiking and exploring Michigan. Go ahead and ask him a question about beer science, but be prepared for a lengthy treatise on the subject! PUB STAFF KNOW YOUR LOCAL CHEF. CHRISTOPHER WEIMER Christopher Weimer Executive Chef / General ManagerChris is a graduate of the nationally celebrated Secchia Culinary Institute. His humble, yet passionate approach to food is rarely found in modern chefs and his leadership skills and dedication to the job are exceptional. He arrived at Vivant and started as Head Line Cook. He quickly rose to the rank of GM, for good reason. His vision, attention to detail and unending, exuberant energy form the engine that keeps his team constantly moving forward. His no-nonsense, yet fair leadership style commands a level of loyalty from his staff that is rarely seen in the current hospitality world. We are all very happy to have him at the helm and are excited to see where he takes us, because we know it will be someplace great. CHRISTOPHER VANDER MEER Christopher Vander Meer Chef de CuisineChris clawed his way into the role of Chef de Cuisine through hard work and a love and passion for fine food. He graduated with honors from Grand Rapids Community College holding a degree in culinary arts. Chris has worked in a variety of kitchens around the Grand Rapids area, ranging from country clubs to fine dining restaurants. He also spent time living and cooking New England fare on the coast of Maine. He is excited to be a part of this fresh, new addition to Grand Rapids that we call Vivant! VANESSAAGUILAR Vanessa Aguilar Sous ChefVanessa grew up in a small farm town north of Grand Rapids and earned her associates degree in culinary arts from Baker College. She's got a level head, a good eye, and an incredible sense of how flavors flow together...and set each other off. As Banquet Chef at a couple GR country clubs, she knows how hot the kitchen can get but keeps her cool under pressure. In 2013 she vacationed on Mackinac Island as the Sous Chef for the Island House Hotel, learning a lot and having a lot of fun doing it. Vanessa brings a wealth of experience to our kitchen, working her way up from prep cook, to lead prep, and now stewarding our kitchen as Sous. When she's not cooking for you, she's chasing her pup down country trails and enjoying mother nature in any way, shape, or form. KATYWALTZ Katy Waltz Pastry ChefKaty grew up in LaGrange, IN. She attended Purdue University (go BigTen!) to study Hospitality and Tourism Management. She discovered her passion for the pastry process as a summer intern at a small lodge in Alaska. Then as an apprentice at Sea Island in Georgia she rotated between the main bake shop, the five star restaurant, and the Lodge (recently named Best Hotel in America!). All that Southern summertime humidity drove Katy back to Alaska for another rotation through the lodge life. Somehow she found her way to Grand Rapids and wound up at the Vivant bar one night, reading "Letters from a Wine Stained Notebook" by Bukowski. Chatty bartenders persuaded her to stay in GR and the rest is glorious buttery baked history! JONATHANWARD Jonathan Ward Experience WardenWard is now in his second stint at Vivant after dipping his toe into the Pacific Northwest Craft Beer scene. A half year into his western adventure he came home for a visit and decided to come home to stay. He happily brings his girlfriend Katy Waltz and (somewhat unhappily) a plump telepathic feline named Pinot back with him after adventures too numerous to mention here. His new role as "Experience Warden" is as non-linear, left-field and open-ended as he is. He will be doing everything in his power to make the Vivant experience a powerfully good one through community, art, design, education, events and of course food and beer. His main goals are to get Vivant beers on tap at at least one brewpub in Japan and to have a pint at the Vivant arches with Dan Pashman and Simon Pegg. CHRIS "BATES" STOFFEL Chris "Bates" Stoffel ManagerLoving this workplace place since 2011, Bates is our make-it-happen floor manager and the Mister Master of the Monk Club. You may have seen his likeness grace the front page of the GRPress in September 2014, talking about ways Grand Rapids can become more attractive to college graduates-- He has since finished his degree in Anthropology and Philosophy at GVSU. Happily married and living on the West Side, Bates' friendly demeanor tempts us all: "My fridge is always stocked…" but warns to call ahead or Fluffernutter the black lab guard dog may greet you instead. Always the one to hit up for a new or rare beer release, Bates' affability and beer knowledge endear him to his coworkers and guests alike. Bates loves meeting new people and he shines in the pub finding answers and creating solutions. BRANDI BECKNER Brandi Beckner ManagerMichigan native Brandi Beckner dove head first into the craft after joining Brewery Vivant as the manager in August 2016. Brandi has years of food/beverage experience as she previously worked at Gravity Taphouse Grille and as the Food & Beverage Purchasing Director at the JW Marriott. Enticed by Brewery Vivant’s transparent business model and integration of upper house management throughout all operations, Brandi knew Vivant was the right place to contribute her past experiences and honed skills. The community involvement and local impact the brewery had drew her in. Brandi spends her free time cruising about Michigan in pursuit of differing local markets and outdoor activities that continue to make her world, “Plein de Vie” (full of life). The support felt from her daughter and cat energize Brandi to contribute in abundance to Brewery Vivant.