Ninkasi Taps Former Bell’s Executive to Lead National Sales

Oregon’s Ninkasi Brewing has announced the hiring of former Bell’s Brewery director of sales, Marty Compton.

Compton, who officially joined the Eugene-based Ninkasi as its new national sales director earlier this week, departed Bell’s Brewery last August. During his nearly 10-year stint at the Michigan-based craft brewery, Compton led distribution expansions into 20 new states while simultaneously helping grow sales of Bell’s beer beyond 420,000 barrels.

“Marty has a history of building customer-focused teams based on passion, collaboration, professionalism, and accountability,” Ninkasi CEO Cheryl Collins, said via a press release. “This approach speaks greatly to our company values and where we see Ninkasi thriving in the years to come.”

Speaking to Brewbound, Collins described Compton’s leadership style as “people forward,” and said the company was eager to tap into his ability to “coach and mentor” Ninkasi’s team of 24 sales managers.

She added the Compton was “fan” of the Ninkasi brand, and that he “liked our size and the significance we have in a tough Pacific Northwest market.”

“A desire to craft strong, profitable, and lasting partnerships makes Marty the leader we want with us as we navigate this challenging craft landscape,” Sarah Johnson, Ninkasi’s chief customer officer said in the release.

Despite initial plans to grow as much as 10 percent in 2017, sales of Ninkasi beer declined slightly in 2017, Collins said. The company didn’t share last year’s figures, but production eclipsed 99,600 barrels in 2016, according to Brewers Association data.

“We are looking at what is going on in the market and trying to figure out how we are going to adapt to that,” Collins said. “This year, you can expect Marty to be learning quite a bit and developing our strategy for the long-term.”

Ninkasi, which recently began packaging its beer in cans, expects aluminum packages to account for as much as 15 percent of its business in 2017 and help drive new growth. Collins added that, through the first two months of the year, sales of draft beer are growing once again.

“Draft is up,” she said. “That is not something we had last year. It has a lot to do with our new products, which are doing really well.”

The company is anticipating growth in 2018, despite continued challenges from a bevy of local competitors and the continued consumer shift toward cans, Collins added.

“We’re still adjusting to that, and we created our projections this year to be more flexible,” she said. “We want to see how the cans are going to perform, and we’re watching the trends for both bottles and cans very closely. It will be interesting to see how that shift plays out and where cans continue to go.”

And despite Compton’s experience expanding distribution into new markets, Collins said there are no immediate plans to move beyond the 12 states where Ninkasi beer is currently sold.

“We’re looking at what is going on nationally and figuring out, strategically, what makes the most sense right now,” she said.

A press release with additional details is included below.

Ninkasi Brewing Names Marty Compton as National Sales Director

EUGENE, Ore.—March 8, 2018—Ninkasi Brewing Company proudly announces Marty Compton as its new national sales director. Effective this week, Compton will direct Ninkasi’s sales team covering a distribution footprint of 12 states and two provinces.

Compton brings more than 30 years of experience growing beer sales and market share from both the brewer and distributor perspectives. Most recently as the director of sales at Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Compton led strategic growth including the expansion of Bell’s distribution territory from 11 to 31 states and increasing the brewery’s sales team from six to a force of over 100 individuals.

“Marty has a history of building customer-focused teams based on passion, collaboration, professionalism, and accountability,” says Cheryl Collins, Ninkasi CEO. “This approach speaks greatly to our company values and where we see Ninkasi thriving in the years to come.”

Prior to his nine-year tenure at Bell’s, Compton’s experience includes leading teams at the distributor level at Alaska Distributors Co., as well as managing a self-distribution team at Redhook Ale Brewery.

“A desire to craft strong, profitable, and lasting partnerships makes Marty the leader we want with us as we navigate this challenging craft landscape,” explains Sarah Johnson, chief customer officer for Ninkasi. “I look forward to working with Marty to elevate our practices and move our brand forward.”

Compton will report directly to Sarah Johnson to oversee Ninkasi’s sales team and wholesaler relationships. Celebrating 11 years of crafting independent beer, Ninkasi continues to operate wholly from Eugene, Ore. under its core purpose—Perpetuate Better Living.

About Ninkasi Brewing Company

Founded in 2006 by Jamie Floyd and Nikos Ridge, Ninkasi Brewing Company continues to grow from its first batch of Total Domination IPA to the 33rd largest craft brewery in the United States. Independently owned and operated in Eugene, Ore., Ninkasi’s Flagship beers include Total Domination IPA, Tricerahops Double IPA, Dawn of the Red IPA, Hop Cooler Citrus IPA, Prismatic Juicy IPA, Pacific Rain Northwest Pale, Yours Truly Easy-Drinking Ale, Helles Belles Helles Lager, and Vanilla Oatis Oatmeal Stout. Ninkasi beers are sold throughout Alaska; Alberta; Arizona; California; Colorado; Idaho; Maryland; Nevada; New York; Oregon; Utah; Washington; Virginia; and Vancouver, British Columbia. Committed to community support and giving, Ninkasi’s Beer Is Love program offers donations to 501(c)(3) organizations throughout its footprint. For more information, call 541.344.2739 or visit www.NinkasiBrewing.com.

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