Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What's your hook?

I know (or know of) a lot of people that are in various stages of starting a brewery in and around Cincinnati right now.  Sure some may be all talk, some are ready to launch, and some are someplace in between.  The most common question I get asked by people familiar with the brewing "scene" is:

"So what's your hook?  What's going to make you different from all the other guys?"

Good question.  In the craft beer world marketing isn't about football and Swedish bikini teams and "frost brewed" and "triple hopped".  It's about telling a story and finding your niche.  So what is Blank Slate's niche?

Well of course handcrafted quality beer is a must.  This is the starting point for anyone in this industry (or at least it should be).  Beyond that everything is wide open.  I brew what I like to drink and I hope everyone else will enjoy it also.  I like to drink seasonally and a big focus of the brewery will be to rotate beers as the weather changes.  Very few people like to drink a Russian Imperial Stout when it's 100° outside so why bother brewing it until the winter?  (I only say this because now that it's 50° outside I am drinking a RIS and thoroughly enjoying it.)  Sure there are a few styles that are good year round and we'll have some of those too.  There will be some "big beers" but I am also a believer that the session beer has become a lost art in American craft brewing.  Sometimes it's nice to sit around and drink two or three pints and not worry about having to drive home afterward.  Oh yeah, barrel aged sour beers are on the agenda too.

So all this may sound a bit scattershot, and yeah, maybe it is.  On the surface it doesn't really seem to answer the original question of "what's your hook?"  Well maybe that's the answer.  Maybe the hook is that there is no hook.  Maybe being a small self-distributed operation doing whatever feels right is a hook in and of itself?  Maybe the answer is right there in the name.....

I'm starting this thing with an open mind and a Blank Slate.....We'll see what falls out of it...