The Eugene, Ore.-based craft brewery has signed agreement with six independent wholesalers in Orange County, Los Angeles and San Diego County to distribute its flagship and limited release offerings in 22 oz. bottles and kegs.
“Our newly added capacity has allowed us to join the party in San Diego and to be a part of this new rebel alliance that is changing the face of craft beer in Los Angeles,” said Marty Ochs, the company’s vice president of sales.
In San Diego, Ninkasi signed with Craft Beer Guild Distributing of California, the newest extension of L. Knife & Son’s growing national craft wholesale network.
“With L. Knife in San Diego, we are able to be a top focus from day one and grow together,” said Ochos.
An alliance of five independent Anheuser-Busch wholesalers — Straub Distributing Co., Ace Beverage Co., Mission Beverage Co., Triangle Distributing Co., and Heimark Distributing — will distribute Ninkasi throughout the greater Orange County and Los Angeles basin areas.
“We are built to grow as deep as we can,” said Ochs. “Our strategy has always been slow and methodical. We will move at the pace at which those markets determine we fit.”
The strategy seems to be paying off. Ninkasi was ranked as the 30th biggest U.S. craft brewery by the Brewers Association in 2012. Its beer is currently only available in six states — Oregon, Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Washington — as well as Vancouver, B.C. The company expects production to total 90,000 barrels in 2013 up from 68,427 a year ago.
In Southern California, Ninkasi will roll out its flagship offerings — Total Domination IPA, Believer Double Red, Tricerahops Double IPA, Oatis Oatmeal Stout, and Vanilla Oatis Oatmeal Stout — this month. The company’s seasonal and specialty varieties will be released on a limited basis throughout the year. To help support the new markets, Ninkasi will hire at least six new sales and marketing managers, Ochs said.