Brewbound Session

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Brewbound Session: Go Under the Hood with Ninkasi’s Nikos Ridge and Cheryl Collins

Earlier this year, Ninkasi Brewing co-founder Nikos Ridge stepped back from his role as CEO, naming then-COO Cheryl Collins as his replacement.

At the time, Ridge pointed to his “entrepreneurial-orientated” leadership style as something that was holding the company back after it had grown to 100,000 barrels and $30 million in annual sales in the span of a decade.

The pair will speak at the upcoming Brewbound Session, which takes place on Wednesday, November 29, at the Lowes Hotel in Santa Monica, California. Together, Ridge and Collins will share lessons learned from growing into one of the largest U.S. craft breweries in just 10 years.

“The industry is maturing and growing into a new phase,” Ridge told Brewbound during a recent interview. “We are maneuvering this change in the craft landscape, and we compete with a class of breweries that are scaled — very few of them are as young as we are.”

Ninkasi’s biggest challenge, Ridge said, is trying to outmaneuver those companies that have had “20 or 30 years” to fine-tune their innovation, leadership and go-to-market strategies.

And as the craft industry has become more complex, the Pacific Northwest craft brewery has been forced to take a thorough look under the hood, analyzing every aspect of its business in an effort to identify areas where it can professionalize and compete more effectively with others in the space.

In doing so, Ridge and Collins have gained valuable insights into teamwork, company culture, innovation and investment strategy, and they have learned how to streamline brewery operations in ways that create efficiencies and cost-reduction opportunities — all while undergoing a potentially disruptive leadership transition.

During next month’s Brewbound Session, the pair will dive deep into their maturation process, sharing valuable lessons for any brewery entrepreneur wondering how to navigate an increasingly more complicated and uncertain business climate.

Attendees of Brewbound Session, the business conference for serious beer industry professionals, are also invited to join a welcome reception, hosted and sponsored by Santa Monica Brew Works, on Tuesday, November 28.

In addition to conversations with Ridge, Collins and other industry thought leaders, the Brewbound Session will also feature the ninth installment of the Startup Brewery Challenge, sponsored by Craft Brew Alliance.

Conference registration is available online.

About Brewbound Session

Focused on the business side of brewing, the Brewbound Session is an intimate conference for serious beer industry professionals interested in hearing growth strategies while networking with emerging and established players alike. The full-day program features a hand-selected roster of industry experts and innovators who, through presentations and panel discussions, will touch on topics including investment, emerging trends, distribution strategies and more. Marketing, merchandising, and the overall state of the craft market are looked at as opportunities for brewers to improve revenue and profitability, and to build the capital structure that will allow them to weather any future storms.