The new Blank Slate Brewing Co. in Cincinnati plans to take full advantage of craft beer lovers’ passion for seasonal brews. Owner/brewer Scott LaFollette – who also carries the titles of janitor and yeast farmer – plans to launch his small production brewery early next year near the Lunken Airport and focus primarily on seasonal offerings. The business model is a tad different for an industry that likes to create flagship beers. But that’s all right with LaFollette who knows that craft beer fans are always looking for something new. Seasonal beers – from bocks to summer fruit beers to pumpkin ales to Christmas ales – are hot within the industry.
“I want to build a little bit of a fan base where they don’t know what they are going to get from season to season but they want to try it,” he said. “It’s a way to keep things fresh and keep from stagnating.” “Stouts are great,” he added. “But I don’t want to drink a stout in July. So why brew a stout year-round when you’re going to have poor sales in the summer time?”
His plan is to start with a couple of beers on draft only and then within the year transition into also offering 22-ounce bottles. The 35-year-old LaFollette, a polymer chemist by trade, has been a homebrewer for a dozen years.
Blank Slate wasn’t the first name he had in mind for his brewery. It actually was the third or fourth. Originally, he wanted to go with No Label Brewing but that was taken. So was No Name Brewing. But Blank Slate works well for a couple of reasons. One, LaFollette is leaving his full-time job as a chemist to transition into a new career. “And I’m shaking some of the pre-conceptions that if you’re starting a brewery, what you do is make a pale ale and a lager and a brown ale,” he said. “I want to turn that around a little bit and start with a blank slate and go from there.”