When the story broke last week, I had some questions. Will the new Ninkasi Brewing Company in Tumwater, Washington be a full-on brewery or just a tasting room? What’s the timeline? So, I asked.
According to Kiley Gwynn, Creative Project Manager for Ninkasi Brewing, “We’re excited to be a partner in the Tumwater Craft District and Craft Brewing and Distilling Center of Excellence. The project is still in the early stages of development, but we hope to have a Ninkasi staffed tasting room open around July 2020. Our Washington tasting room experience will serve beloved Ninkasi year-round beers, special releases, and innovation beers that we will develop in conjunction with students in the South Puget Sound Community College brewing program. The innovation beers will be brewed on the SPSCC 10-barrel system and our experience space will house barrels and brites for Ninkasi projects.”
Sometimes it’s hard for regular folks like us to understand the way real estate development works. There’s a chunk of land that the city would like to see developed. Maybe the city even has a vision of what they’d like to see happen. A real estate developer comes along with a vision, creates a plan, then works with the local officials to make it happen. At some point, tenants must be attracted and leases negotiated. Often these tenants are a critical piece of the plan and the tenants work in conjunction with the developer to ultimately realize the vision.
Tumwater Craft District is described like this: “The Craft District currently includes a Market Building with multiple vendors surrounding a livable common space. Think coffee, bakery, restaurants, shops, cheese, wine, produce, etc. South Puget Sound Community College’s new Brewing and Distilling Program. Heritage Distilling Company’s new production and tasting room facility. A regional Brewery and Taproom (to be disclosed soon!). Multiple restaurants, a boutique cannery, and commissary kitchen. All of this surrounding a 1,000 person Amphitheater, views of the Deschutes River and Valley, and access to a major planned trail system along the Deschutes River from downtown Olympia!”
As I understand it, the project originally hoped to attract one of the Olympia area’s many local breweries as a tenant. Perhaps they still hope to attract a local brewery, but for now, it seems they’ve attracted Ninkasi Brewing of Eugene, Oregon.
Ninkasi Brewing Coming to the Tumwater Craft District Helping to revitalize Tumwater and strengthen the craft brewing industry
Eugene, Oregon – Ninkasi Brewing Company has signed on as a key partner in the new Craft Brewing and Distilling center of excellence in Tumwater, Washington. The vision of the center is to bring a team of regional and industry experts to create a hub focused on craft brewing and distillation education, research, workforce development, and public information. As well as be a gathering spot in Washington for the craft brewing and distilling industries.
Tumwater was home to the iconic Olympia Brewing Co. that closed its doors in 2003. Ninkasi is proud to be a part of the Tumwater craft movement in this mindfully-designed district that will also feature a distillery, marketplace, and amphitheater. The Craft District sits in the shadow of the old brewery and will eventually be connected to Brewery Park by the Deschutes Valley Trail that features cascading waterfalls and the historic Old Brewhouse Tower.
“We are thrilled to be part of such a collaborative project, that brings together the strengths of many small businesses, South Puget Sound Community College, and City of Tumwater to create an amazing experience,” says Ninkasi Brewing Company CEO and co-founder Nikos Ridge. “Having a space to host Ninkasi fans in Washington, where Ninkasi has been distributed for a long time is very exciting for us, given the historic brewing legacy of the area.”
Tumwater’s natural beauty, pristine water, cultural history, and industrial legacy were all huge positives when evaluating the partnership. However, it was the opportunity to collaborate with South Puget Sound Community College on the educational programming that really excited the Ninkasi team.
“Education is something our team is genuinely passionate about,” says Chief Customer Officer Sarah Johnson. “Providing students with hands-on learning opportunities in brewing techniques and technologies, as well as the business and hospitality sides of the industry is something the entire team is delighted to be a part of.”
Ninkasi Brewing is looking forward to meeting the Tumwater community and tasting a few delicious beers with them at the Tumwater Artisan Brewfest on Saturday, August 17.
About Ninkasi Brewing Company: Founded in 2006 by Jamie Floyd and Nikos Ridge, Ninkasi Brewing Company continues to grow from its first batch of Total Domination IPA to a three-brewhouse operation (90-barrel, 55-barrel, and its new 5-barrel pilot brewery) located in Eugene, Oregon. Ninkasi’s year-round beers are sold throughout Alaska, Alberta, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, as well as Vancouver, British Columbia. The brewery remains privately-owned and is committed to community support and giving. Ninkasi’s Beer Is Love program offers in-kind donations and support for organizations throughout its footprint.