EUGENE, Ore.—March 17, 2015—Seven years after Ninkasi Brewing Company, an independent craft brewery based in Eugene, Ore., opened its doors, the brewery decided the sky was not the limit. In 2014, the brewery’s co-founders embarked on a new kind of mission – the Ninkasi Space Program (NSP), with one ultimate goal: send brewer’s yeast to space, return it to Earth and use it to brew delicious craft beer. After a successful rocket launch in October 2014 from Spaceport America, Ninkasi is proud to introduce Ground Control, an Imperial Stout brewed with Oregon hazelnuts, star anise and cocoa nibs and fermented with an Ale yeast that survived a trip to space and back. Ground Control will be available April 13, 2015, in limited edition 22-ounce bottles at select retailers across the country.
“After almost two years of research, development, lab time, and two separate rocket launches to garner space yeast, we have finally completed our mission,” says Nikos Ridge, Ninkasi CEO and co-founder. “It was a project born out of passionate people coming together to try something new and we can’t wait to share it with the world.”
In July, 2014, Mission One of NSP took flight as a rocket launched by the Civilian Space eXploration Team (CSXT) and Team Hybriddyne made its way to space, carrying 16 vials of brewer’s yeast. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the payload of yeast remained lost on the desert floor of Nevada’s Black Rock Desert for 27 days, leaving the yeast not viable for brewing. In October, 2014, a second opportunity presented itself for Mission Two with private spaceflight corporation, UP Aerospace Inc.. This time, six vials of brewer’s yeast traveled 77.3 miles in altitude aboard a rocket, and returned safely to Earth. The result: healthy, hungry and viable yeast, ready for brewing. The yeast was cold-transported back to Ninkasi’s lab in Eugene, where it was propagated and tested before being used to ferment its first beer, Ground Control.
“This is all about exploring the future of brewing,” says Jamie Floyd, Ninkasi founding-brewer and co-founder. “While these groups are working to push the boundaries of access to space, we are hoping that our missions will help propel the brewing industry forward – well into the future.”
Ninkasi worked hand-in-hand with gig poster artist, Neal Williams to create the key art that inspired the label and special edition packaging for Ground Control. The Eugene-based illustrator and screenprinter whose works include concert posters for Queens of the Stone Age, Dave Matthew Band, Interpol, and The Head & The Heart, drew from his own fascination with space, sci-fi and retrofuturism to create the art behind the beer. Williams’ artwork will be featured on Ground Control merchandise, including limited edition serigraph posters, hand numbered and signed by the artist, available for purchase online.
Ground Control Stats
Ground Control boldly combines local and out-of-this-world ingredients. This rich, complex Imperial Stout is brewed with Oregon hazelnuts, star anise and cocoa nibs, and fermented with an Ale yeast that survived a trip to space and back. Mankind will enjoy the sweet finesse of this beer that only fares better with time.
Style: Imperial Stout Brewed with Oregon Hazelnuts, Star Anise, Cocoa Nibs, and Ale Yeast Sent Into Space
Available: April 13, 2015
Malt: 2-Row Pale, Black, Chocolate, Munich, Crystal, Honey, Special Roast, Peated
Hops: Apollo, Bravo, Comet
Packaging: 22oz. Bottles
Distribution: Alaska; Alberta; Arizona; California; Colorado; Idaho; Nevada; Oregon; Washington; Vancouver, British Columbia; and select retailers across the country.
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 two brewhouses, a 55-barrel and a 90-barrel brewhouse, located in Eugene, Ore. Ninkasi’s Flagship beers—Total Domination IPA, Tricerahops Double IPA, Dawn of the Red IRA, Lux Helles Lager, Oatis Oatmeal Stout, and Vanilla Oatis Oatmeal Stout—are sold throughout Alaska; Alberta; Arizona; California; Colorado; Idaho; Nevada; Oregon; Utah; Washington; and 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.