Ninkasi Big Timing the Little Game

by Olivia Narvaez

Ninkasi Brewing Company began in 2006 with two ambitious Oregon natives who decided to start a beer brewery, brewing their signature Total Domination IPA for the first time. Since then they have grown exponentially and moved to the historic Whiteaker neighborhood of Eugene, Oregon, while still keeping the local brewery feeling in tact.

In 2012, Ninkasi grew to feature a 50-barrel brewing system, and now uses it to produce and distribute its beer throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska, and San Francisco. The variety of beer has grown also. Not only does Ninkasi carry the signature Total Domination IPA, but it also distributes Tricerahops Double IPA, Believer Double Red, and Otis Oatmeal Stout, not to mention popular seasonal collections.

The name Ninkasi has meaning behind it as well. Ninkasi is the ancient Sumerian goddess of the intoxicating beverage. Her story begins with her birth out of “sparkling fresh water.” She is the goddess made to “satisfy the desire” and “sate the heart.” The founders of Ninkasi Brewery made no mistake in picking this name for their company.

Furthermore, Ninkasi supports a variety of positive community collectives and non-profit organizations not only locally but on a larger scale as well. They have worked to promote various sporting events, teams, musical events, theater, and fine arts, as well as festivals and neighborhood parties, for example the Whiteaker Block Party that comes every summer.

As you can see, Ninkasi is so much more that just a local brewery, it uses corporate social responsibility to increase consumer perception, as well as give back to the local community. Almost all of the profits from the beer go to the non-profit McKenzie River Trust to maintain the water supply that nourishes the brewery as one of the cleanest sources of water in the world.

Ninkasi positioned themselves in a niche that has kept them sustainable for years now. The only place they can grow from here is up.

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