Brewery Vivant, John Ball Zoo team up on beer to celebrate sustainability

Label for JBZ Courtesy Brewery Vivant

John Ball Zoo partnered with beer maker Brewery Vivant to create a new beer, entitled the “JBZ,” highlighting the institution’s work on conservation and focusing on shared values of the two organizations around sustainability and conservation.

“As a company focused on sustainability, we have been impressed with the initiatives that the John Ball Zoo team has been implementing, and we are excited to draw attention to the importance of water quality for our community through our partnership,” Brewery Vivant President Kris Spaulding said. “It was a natural fit to work together.”

“When thinking about what kind of beer we wanted to make for this collaboration, our minds went immediately to a smooth drinking lager,” Brewery Vivant Creative Director Jon Ward said. “We also wanted to make it distinct and connected to local agriculture. We decided to dry hop with Michigan-grown Chinook hops to make JBZ pop with aromas of summer.”

The JBZ beer is on draft at various locations at the John Ball Zoo, as well as at Brewery Vivant’s taproom at 925 Cherry St. SE in Grand Rapids. The beer also will be packaged in 16-ounce cans that will be available for takeout through Brewery Vivant and John Ball Zoo retail outlets later this summer.

“Creating such a partnership with Brewery Vivant made the most sense given our shared values in conservation, sustainability and community. Creating such a program brings awareness to generations that might not be as knowledgeable about the zoo’s conservation efforts,” John Ball Zoo CEO Peter D’Arienzo said. “Together, we hope this partnership brings greater awareness not only to the importance of water quality for wildlife but also for the community.”

In the past year, the zoo has taken more significant steps to elevate its sustainability efforts. With a focus on conservation, John Ball Zoo designed and built a SITES centered meerkat habitat and has a goal to be certified this summer with SITES’ Gold Certification.

The certification would make John Ball Zoo the first zoo in the country to receive this and the first 2.0 v SITES in Michigan.

The Sustainable SITES Initiative is a comprehensive rating system for developing sustainable landscapes, similar to LEED. By building a meerkat habitat to SITES certification, the zoo is reducing water demand, filtering and reducing stormwater runoff, providing wildlife habitat, reducing energy consumption, improving air quality, improving human health and increasing outdoor recreation opportunities.

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