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Keeping it Independent: A note from Nikos Ridge, Ninkasi Co-Founder & CEO

Feb 02, 2015 Comments (12) Keeping it Independent: A note from Nikos Ridge, Ninkasi Co-Founder & CEO

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!

Comments (12)

  1. Nelson Whip:
    Feb 02, 2015 at 04:56 PM

    Hey, I'm a big Ninkasi fan and have been for several years. Your beer is excellent!
    I have purchased Total Domination at Target here in the SF Bay Area many times. How does Target fit in with your stated philosophy of working with independent distributors? It seems pretty contradictory to me. Safeway carries it here too. Same question.

  2. Andrew Mataus:
    Feb 02, 2015 at 05:59 PM

    Awesome, just another reason why Ninkasi is staying one step ahead of the curve. It's a really treat to have such a community based company rezied in your home town. Props Nikasi, what to Keep "Making N's Meet"!

  3. Angelo:
    Feb 02, 2015 at 06:11 PM

    I love Ninkasi even more now. I didn't think that was possible. You guys rule!

  4. Jean Stover:
    Feb 02, 2015 at 07:24 PM

    Well said, Nikos! Thank you for remaining true to Ninkasi's core values...

  5. Sibot:
    Feb 02, 2015 at 08:11 PM

    Cheers to you, Nikos!

  6. Oso loco:
    Feb 02, 2015 at 08:57 PM

    Please dont sell to AB.

  7. Dirk Beaulieu:
    Feb 02, 2015 at 09:30 PM

    Thanks so much you guys for ditching ABI and standing up for your principles!

  8. kimberlee:
    Feb 02, 2015 at 10:42 PM

    Like the message. Poor delivery... As a student of Media Design I was off-put on spacing and general composition. Grammar was also a bit lax, depending on the audience..

  9. Lucas:
    Feb 02, 2015 at 11:10 PM

    Great words Nikos! Many in Reno in full support! Hope to see you guys back soon!!

  10. David Lory:
    Feb 03, 2015 at 12:01 AM

    awesome letter! I'm a big fan of Ninkasi and we serve a couple of their beers at my bar.

  11. Drew:
    Feb 03, 2015 at 07:46 AM

    To Nelson Whip,

    just because a brewery is independent and remaining true to the soul of craft beer doesn't mean that they aren't 'authorized' and willing to sell in chains, many chains in fact over the past several years have made strides to 'up their game' in the craft sector realizing the growth potential and potential to reach a new and younger clientele. In fact many of these breweries need help from their local 'chains' such as Whole Foods to grow. Just be glad that you can find it! Over here in Alabama we are making great strides but are still waiting on many phenomenal breweries such as Ninkasi to come to our state. Enjoy some great beer, cheers!

    Also to Nikos, let me know if Alabama interests you, I am the craft manager at a family owned and operated Independent distributor. (Drew Jones)

  12. Conrad Kornmann:
    Feb 04, 2015 at 09:05 PM

    Keep up the good work Ninkasi. I was really disappointed that Elysian was bought by A-B but you know... there are still plenty of craft beers from independent breweries to enjoy! You can count on my support.

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