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Ninkasi Brewing Company Introduces Ground Control, Imperial Stout Fermented with Space-Traveled Yeast

Mar 17, 2015 Comments (20)  | Tags: Press Release Ninkasi Brewing Company Introduces Ground Control, Imperial Stout Fermented with Space-Traveled Yeast

Ground Control Available in 22oz. Bottles at Select Retailers April 13, 2015

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
ABV: 10.0%
IBU: 80
OG: 1100
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.

Stay informed about the release of Ground Control by visiting or following @NinkasiInSpace on Twitter.

Comments (20)

  1. hawkeye:
    Jun 27, 2015 at 05:37 PM

    Well, I'm drinking this right now and, wow what a beer. I paid $20 dollars for it at a local beer store and just dang. I will most definitely be picking this one up again. Obviously, I picked this up because I'm a lover of space and all things that are unique about it. This beer is worth every penny and what a cool story!

  2. JUAN:
    Jul 14, 2015 at 10:49 PM

    Had this on draft after bartender at Proletariat in NYC recommended it. Great! Can't wait to pick this up at a local beer store. Favorite beer right now.

  3. Matt:
    Jul 20, 2015 at 10:40 PM

    I'm not a fan of stouts normally... But this has re-opened my eyes to the world of stouts!!! I have never had a beer I had not enjoyed to the last drop from ninkasi. Way to go guys and gals!!! Innovation is what drives this industry and keeps happy beer drinkers like me coming back for more :)

  4. D. R.:
    Aug 13, 2015 at 05:58 PM

    As a Northwesterner, transplanted to the suburban area of NYC, I was excited to see this brew coming to Ambulance Brew House in Nanuet, on their newsletter's list of coming beers. Ninkasi stands for excellence, and I'm so looking forward to having this served from a tap in my own zip code!

  5. Jeffrey Willis:
    Mar 10, 2016 at 06:47 PM

    Where can I buy a bottle now

  6. Ninkasi Brewing Company:
    Mar 11, 2016 at 09:36 AM

    Hey Jeffrey - This was a limited release beer, available in April 2015. Keep your eyes on our channels for updates to this project soon!

  7. Brian:
    Jun 16, 2016 at 05:01 PM

    Ground Control is incredible. A local restaurant offered (incorrectly labeled as bottle aged and not barrel aged). Immediately found it at a local retailer. Can'the wait to enjoy another bottle.

  8. Alex Campbell:
    Jun 21, 2016 at 03:02 PM

    I just learned about an annual event down in Illinois Valley: They celebrate the "moon tree," which grew from a seed that was taken into space by a former smoke-jumper. I thought it was such a cool parallel to the Ground Control! Who could they get in touch with about any kind of possible connection/collaboration?

  9. Ninkasi Brewing:
    Jun 21, 2016 at 04:24 PM

    Thanks for the note, Alex! Feel free to email us at Cheers!

  10. Howard Hill:
    Aug 15, 2016 at 03:14 PM

    I sure would like to have this beer. Is it sold in Eureka ca. Let me know, I love stout beer, I have not had this one. Can I purchase it from you?

  11. Ninkasi Brewing:
    Aug 15, 2016 at 04:28 PM

    Hi Howard - This is a limited-release beer that was available in April. Once it's gone, it's gone. There is a chance a specialty bottle shop near you still has it though. Check our beer finder to find out!

  12. Sharon A Leahy:
    Aug 18, 2016 at 01:07 PM

    Had the pleasure of sipping Ground Control last night with friends. Most delicious Stout I've tasted .... my horizons expanded instantly! Major Tom would approve!

  13. Brian Hansen:
    Sep 15, 2016 at 08:15 AM

    After waiting for over a year, for just the right occasion, last night, I opened the bottle I bought the first week of release. Like drinking liquid sad it's gone now :-(
    Oh, and the occasion?, cuz the taunts from the astronaut were just too much!

  14. Lucas Slyford:
    Jul 03, 2017 at 10:54 AM

    Does this stuff expire? I bought a few bottles and am saving it for a special occasion. 30 bucks per bottle after taxes and deposit on Vancouver Island, BC.


  15. Ninkasi Brewing:
    Jul 05, 2017 at 12:54 PM

    Hi Lucas! This beer does well with age. We recommend keeping it in a cool, dark place and enjoying anytime within 3-5 years. Cheers!

  16. Ninkasi Brewing:
    Jul 05, 2017 at 12:54 PM

    Hi Lucas! This beer does well with age. We recommend keeping it in a cool, dark place and enjoying anytime within 3-5 years. Cheers!

  17. Ninkasi Brewing:
    Jul 05, 2017 at 12:54 PM

    Hi Lucas! This beer does well with age. We recommend keeping it in a cool, dark place and enjoying anytime within 3-5 years. Cheers!

  18. beerbro:
    Nov 21, 2017 at 03:02 PM

    for sale at costco in Portland for $15.86 or something now.

  19. KC:
    Dec 19, 2017 at 02:35 PM

    I just got this bourbon-barrel aged beer as a white elephant gift at work and I'm stoked to try it! I'm curious about it. When is the last time it was released in stores? I'm wondering how long someone has had it before they decided to gift it for our work party and if I should wait a while to drink it. How much does a 22oz bottle normally cost?

  20. Ninkasi Brewing:
    Jan 08, 2018 at 10:17 PM

    Hi KC! Great question and even better white elephant gift! We have released four versions of this beer over the last three years. You can compare the label to our site and see which version you were gifted: This beer ages extremely well, so if cellared properly, you can expect to have delicious beer no matter which year it was released! Happy holidays!

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