The Brew Site

A look at Ninkasi Brewing’s flagship rebranding

Eugene, Oregon’s Ninkasi Brewing Company announced this week “a new look for its Flagship Series beers as it prepares to celebrate its tenth anniversary” with new designs rolling out for three of its core beers: Total Domination IPA, Tricerahops Double IPA, and Dawn of the Red (a so-called “Red IPA” though I thought they originally called it an “India Red Ale” or IRA). It’s a move to bring the branding into a more unified look and feel with what they are doing (“art-forward” as you’ll see in the press release quoted below) with the other year-round brands like Helles Belles and Easy Way IPA, and I imagine this sensibility will eventually roll out to the other packages.

On a side note, the fact that Ninkasi is celebrating ten years this year is significant; I think they’ve pulled off something that’s difficult for breweries to do even in the best of circumstances—they became such a fixture and powerhouse in Oregon that it feels like they’ve been around for more than only a decade. Half a year ago Jeff at Beervana noted this as well, saying, “Ninkasi Brewing pulled off the neat trick of going from start-up to powerhouse in just a few years” and offered a short analysis of how they did it.

Back to that press release; here’s the meat of it:

As the brewery heads into its second decade of brewing, it became clear that the time was right to revamp its core products to tell a bigger visual story. “We started Ninkasi with the intent to help foster community,” says Jamie Floyd, Ninkasi co-founder and founding brewer. “Art and music have always been at the center of everything we do.” Whether its recording artists at its in-house studio, crafting steel tap handles at its metal fabrication shop, or collaborating on a new project through its Artist in Residence program, Ninkasi’s passion for art resonates throughout the brewery. “As we celebrate a decade of brewing, it seemed like a natural time to give our brands an updated look that further expresses who we are and where we are going,” explains Floyd.

“These brands now better represent what we hold true to Ninkasi,” adds Nikos Ridge, Ninkasi CEO and co-founder. “We love our home in the Pacific Northwest, our access to the outdoors and the awesome cultural experiences that revolve around the unique passions and experiences that resonate here.”

Developed by Ninkasi’s in-house design team in collaboration with its Artist in Residence, gig poster artist Neal Williams, the art reflects the brewery’s move to a more art-forward aesthetic capturing the personality of each beer. Ninkasi has slowly evolved the look of its products with more art-forward packaging for year-round brands like Helles Belles Helles Lager and Easy Way IPA. “This new style celebrates our brand entering into a more art-focused look while also reflecting how our consumers have shown us they like to enjoy these beers,” says Ridge. “Whether that’s summiting a mountain with Total Domination IPA, celebrating with Tricerahops Double IPA, or watching a cult classic with Dawn of the Red.”

And, here are pictures of the new packaging. I should note that I am not a fan of bottle shots like this, where the bottles are dripping with water—and these in particular look more like they’r coated in gel or something. Bottles shots like that tend to obscure the detail you want to see, in my opinion. But see what you think: