Blank Slate Brewing's closing fuels outpouring of admiration, sadness

CINCINNATI -- Word spread fast within the local craft beer community after Blank Slate Brewing Co.'s social media accounts suddenly went dark early Monday afternoon.

Blank Slate's website confirmed the bad news for the brewery's fans at 2 p.m. Monday.

Although Blank Slate owner Scott LaFollette hasn't responded to requests for comment on the East End brewery's closing, the news prompted an outpouring of emotion from craft beer fans and fellow breweries.

In an email, Jason Brewer, general manager for Listermann Brewing Co., expressed his admiration for Blank Slate. LaFollette opened Blank Slate in 2012, about three years after Listermann started brewing beer in Evanston. In December the breweries partnered with ArtsWave to produce Roots, a ginger beer that benefited the arts nonprofit.

"It's taken me a while to put my feelings into words," he said. "Scott has been a great friend to the brewery since he started. We are two breweries that have always been the underdog. So we have shared a lot of common bumps along the way. We have collaborated on more beers together than I can even remember. He is always willing to put down what he is doing to answer any/all questions someone would have about beer.

"The beer industry has lost a true gem and shining light of innovation. While the Blank Slate glass may always be empty, our memories will certainly not be."

Kevin Moreland, former head brewer for both Listermann and Taft's Ale House, offered similar sentiments for Blank Slate and LaFollette, whom he considers a longtime friend. While Moreland worked at Taft's, the brewery collaborated with Blank Slate to produce Banana Stand, a "chocolate banana" Hefeweizen inspired by the popular television show "Arrested Development."

Moreland agreed to publicly share a private post he made on his Facebook page Tuesday.

Kevin Moreland (top), Jared Hamilton (right), Scott LaFollette (center), Patrick Woods (left)

"We had long talks along the way about life, business and beer. No one has ever done it the way you (LaFollette) have. No one respects the craft the way you do. No one is a better guy in the industry than you, Scott. I wish nothing but the best for you and your family," Moreland wrote.

Arnold's Bar & Grill's general manager Chris Breeden announced plans to honor Blank Slate with a final tap takeover starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the bar, located at 210 E. Eighth St., Downtown.

Photo courtesy of Arnold's Bar & Grill

"There were few things that weren't special about Blank Slate," Breeden said. "Beyond the fact that Scott was a super nice guy, he was also super creative. He was kind of like Cincinnati's 'mad beer scientist.' I would say Cincinnati truly lost one of its most artistic voices when Blank Slate closed down -- in beer, art or otherwise."

Breeden said Arnold's will serve Blank Slate's Fork In the Road, Movin' On, Lady Grissette, No Pun Needed, Lesser Path and Hi-80. The bar also will sell six-packs of Out and About to go for $9.99 while supplies last. Arnold's will share more details on its Facebook page.

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