Ninkasi Brewing Continues to Boom and Grow

City: Eugene, OR

Eugene's Ninkasi Brewing's rapid growth is showing no signs of slowing down. In April, 2014, the company completed construction and started brewing in a second Eugene brewery on Blair Boulevard, just west of the first brewery on Van Buren Street.

The two breweries have a combined capacity of 160,000 barrels, up from 90,000 barrels, with the ability to grow beyond that, company officials said. The company embarked on the $15 million expansion in early 2013 adding a total of more than 70,000 square feet of new space including new production space, offices and a 7,800-square-foot distribution center.

By 2014, Ninkasi was the fourth-largest craft brewer in Oregon and the 30th-largest in the U.S., producing more than 86,000 barrels of beer in 2013. The company's goal for 2015 is to produce 115,000 barrels, officials said. With its 2014 announcement of plans to distribute beer in Nevada, Ninkasi now serves restaurants, bars, grocery stores in seven western states and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Ninkasi's astronomic growth has a lot to do with its successful partnership with Business Oregon. Since 2012, Business Oregon has worked on three financing deals with the company to help fund its expansions. As a result, since its founding in 2006, Ninkasi has grown from two employees to an expected 100 by the summer of 2014.

In November 2011, Business Oregon completed a new Oregon Business Development Fund (OBDF) loan of $400,000 to assist the company with the purchase of the real estate for its latest expansion and improvements.

In 2011, the company completed a $4 million expansion of its West Eugene plant, which included a new 60-barrel brewhouse (double the size of the one they installed in late 2008) and a new bottling line that can fill 12-ounce bottles (previously the company only sold 22-ounce bottles of its beer). The company has now pushed sales into Washington, Idaho, Alaska and northern California.

Past assistance to the company included a $50,000 forgivable loan from the Governor's Strategic Reserve Fund helped the company put the final pieces of its financing plan in place in April 2010. In addition, in July 2010, Business Oregon funded a $502,000 OBDF loan for the company.