Ninkasi Now Operational In Second Brewery

Brewery celebrated the culmination of three years of planning and construction when it brewed its first batch of beer in its new facility in Eugene, Ore. last week.

The new brewery — and 90-barrel brewing system therein — initially adds 70,000 barrels to the company’s current capacity with room to grow ultimately to 250,000 barrels annually. The company’s current maximum annual capacity is 90,000 barrels.

“Since the beginning of Ninkasi, we have continuously been in a state of construction with four expansions in the last seven-and-a-half years,” said Nigel Francisco, brewery CFO, in a company statement. “Finally, we will have a space that we can grow in to for the next 10 to 15 years instead of constantly adapting our facilities to fit our needs.”

Those needs cost $16.1 million — $5.6 million of which went to the construction of the actual building, a wastewater treatment system and a pipe bridge, while equipment costs totaled $10.5 million.

The company’s sustainability needs were met as well. The brewery partnered with ecoReal Solutions, a Portland, Ore.-based sustainable solutions firm, to “make smart upgrades to boost its efficiencies throughout the brewery,” according to the statement. Ninkasi aspires to attain LEED certification once the brewery is fully operational.

In 2013, the brewery produced 86,507 barrels, enough to solidify its spot as a top 30 craft brewery (by sales volume) according to the Brewers Association. The brewery is forecasting production of 115,000 barrels in 2014.

Ninkasi is growing its distribution footprint as well. The company is in the final stages of expanding distribution into Reno and Las Vegas, Nev., according to communications manager Ali AAsum. Most of the company’s new capacity, she said, will go toward further building out the six (soon to be seven with the addition of Nevada) markets that Ninkasi already distributes to.

The brewery’s current distribution footprint includes its home state of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, California, and Vancouver, B.C.

The company is also currently hiring sales and production positions to accommodate the growth, both at home and in the relatively newly added Southern Calif. market, AAsum added.

The company has yet to hire a dedicated national sales director after Marty Ochs, who previously held the position, left the company last December. Ninkasi COO Jessica Jones has assumed responsibilities in the interim, AAsum said.