EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- Big things are on the radar for Ninkasi Brewing, one of Eugene's most beloved craft brewers now in the planning stage of a major expansion that entails a new building and new jobs.
With just six years on tap, the Whiteaker neighborhood-based brewery has grown from selling beer in the Eugene-Springfield area to distribution in six western states. Ninkasi is at the point where it needs more room to keep growing.
Taking on its biggest project to date, Ninkasi is planning a new fermentation and distribution facility. The new building will replace an old warehouse on Second Avenue and Blair Boulevard in Eugene, across the street from brewery's current location.
The plan is to break ground in July 2012. Ninkasi is planning to keep its current location, incorporating the new facility once it's done.
Today, Ninkasi sells beer across Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska and Montana, as well as in San Francisco. It’s looking to spread across California next, but will keep headquarters and beer production in Eugene.
“Up to this point it’s been a process of really growing in short bursts, so add a tank here . . ." said Nikos Ridge, Co-Founder and CEO.
“So, it's kind of an on-going, continuous expansion to this point, and by doing this next project, we're going to build a facility that we can focus on growing into,” says Ridge. “It's a great place to do business and we're happy to be here and happy to be growing.”
The new facility will also add some much-needed office space for the company. Ninkasi employs nearly 70 people right now; the plan is to add about ten jobs a year with the new building.
The brewery hopes to finish its new facility by July 2013, one year after groundbreaking.
According to the Brewers Association, based on sales by volume, Ninkasi Brewing was the 32nd largest craft brewer in the U.S. in 2011, up from Number Fifty in 2010. Deschutes Brewery in Bend, was Number Five on the list.