Keeping it Independent: A note from Nikos Ridge, Ninkasi Co-Founder & CEOFeb 02, 2015 Comments (12)
ICYMI: Ninkasi recently announced partnerships with two craft-focused, independent wholesalers in Downstate Oregon and Western Washington. These territories were formerly covered by distributors owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI), but Ninkasi decided to form new partnerships with companies that are locally-owned and committed to craft beer. Nikos Ridge, our CEO, took a moment to fill us in on why Ninkasi made this move and why we'll stay committed to members of the industry that are independent and locally-owned and operated.
Wow, the beer industry is pretty dynamic these days! I would not have expected all of the changes we have seen throughout our industry over the last year. One thing I can say, is that with all of the deals swirling around, it gave us a chance at Ninkasi to really think about what our goals are as we move forward, and how we want to achieve those.
There are many avenues open to craft brewers now that have not been available in the past. We have changes in wholesaler options with consolidation and buyouts. We have brewers consolidating with other brewers or through private equity partners. And we have more startups now than ever. With all of that swirling around it can be dizzying at times.
At Ninkasi we are still dedicated to the fundamental ideas that we started our company around: the creation of a great craft brewery, focused on making great beers, participating in the communities where we operate, and creating a positive, professional, culture-centered work environment for our team. Those are values that we hope to maintain as we continue into the future. Not all of these things have a place in traditional business but it is our goal to remain independent and align our interests with those of our partners, so that we can keep building the company that we want to build, true to our core values, and engaging and exciting to our fans.
We hope that craft enthusiasts and consumers continue to make an effort to preserve the unique, independent culture that our industry was built on, and make an effort to know who makes the beer on the shelves, what they stand for and why it is important. If that continues to be a factor in the decisions made by craft consumers then it will afford brewers the opportunity to maintain their independence and still be competitive without the business economies of scale and consolidation that seem to be the endgame for so many industries. If brewers and craft fans can align around the importance of that, then I believe that ultimately it will maximize the diversity of great beers and experiences that we all enjoy so much. Cheers!