Ninkasi Brewing mega update: über growth, new imperial stout 22s, imploding grain silos

(Eugene, OR) – There is a lot to run through here so I am just going to break it all down piece by piece…

Ninkasi Imperiale: This is a new Imperial Stout from the brewery that will be available as part of the mixed 22oz winter 4-pack starting Oct. 1. It will then be released on Nov. 1 as a standalone bomber in addition to being in the 4-pack. It will be an allocated product (gone when it runs out as a single bottle release). It will be in the winter 4-packs through mid-Feb when the Spring 4-pack is released.

Ninkasi Sleigh’r Dark Doüble Alt: This recurring seasonal will return on October 1st.

Special Edition – Allies Win the War!: The new collab with 21st Amendment Brewery will be released in cans in November according to 21st Amendment’s Facebook page. Special Edition is an old ale “brewed with dates from California and Falconer Flight hops from Oregon via Hop Union in Yakima.” It will be available through 21st’s distribution network.

Brewery growth: When asked about growth, Ridge said that the brewery is on pace to reach around 55k barrels produced this year. That will be enough to vault the craft brewer into the nation’s top 40 (maybe even top 35). With Ninkasi producing 30k barrels last year, that is a increase of 83%. No regional brewery (a brewery producing at least 15,000 barrels annually but less than six million barrels) topped year-over-year growth of 75% in 2010 according to The Brewers Association (New Brewer May/June 2011) so Ninkasi appears to be the favorite to once again take the “title” of fastest-growing regional brewery in 2011.

According to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, Ninkasi is virtually tied with MillerCoors for third place for beer sold in the state. The Craft Brewers Alliance and Deschutes Brewery are ranked #1 and #2. Barrels of Ninkasi beer sold in-state through June increased nearly 70% through the first half of the year per the OLCC. A little more than half of this year’s growth is coming in Oregon with the rest of the growth coming in Ninkasi’s other markets: Washington, Idaho, Alaska, and San Francisco.

Distribution: Nothing really to report here. Says Ridge, “Deciding if we plan to add any new territory next year, we may be able to continue to grow in our current footprint without additional new territory.” I asked about Colorado specifically. “CO is at least a couple of years out.”

Grain silo incident: A grain silo literally imploded at the brewery last Thursday (prompting my phone call today). KVAL reported (<- pic!) that it collapsed "when suction created by grain being pulled down caused the top of the silo to cave in." The silo holds spent grain and will need to be completely replaced according to Ridge. It was only a year or so old and came online at the same time as the rest of Ninkasi's new 50-barrel system.

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