How long the Blank brewery in Zwiefaltendorf in South Germany has been in existence is not known exactly, but it must have been around 1700. The brewery has been in the family for generations. Thomas Blank became a master brewer in 1995 and took over the brewery from his father in 1996. He told him at the time: “If you want to get through life, you can take over. If you want to drive a Porsche, you have to do something else.” Nevertheless, Thomas Blank has never regretted his decision. “You don’t get rich, but it feeds you,” he says with satisfaction. He enjoys his work and it’s clear that he learned how to brew beer from scratch: the beer tastes excellent.
In general, Blank beer has an excellent reputation in the region. It is not available nationwide anyway, and the output is too low for that. “We brew about 1,000 hectolitres of beer a year,” says Blank. He doesn’t need any big marketing activities either. “We hardly do any advertising, we can hardly keep up with production as it is,” says Thomas Blank, waving it off.
Blank remembers well the first dealer he had, a large beverage trader from near city Reutlingen. He once took 30 cases of beer in February and wanted to start selling it in March. Before the beginning of March, however, he had already fetched supplies because the beer was snatched out of his hands in Reutlingen.
The brewery also includes an inn. So Thomas Blank is at the brewery during the day and at the inn in the evening. He has little free time, but also few wishes. “You don’t always have to get bigger. Just make sure it runs. If the inn is full every day, that’s good,” says Blank with satisfaction. And Blank truly can’t complain about a lack of popularity. Many customers come here deliberately to eat and then take a few cases of beer with them. Or the other way round, depending on the occasion: Some also go to get beer and take the opportunity to stop at the inn. Either way, the inn is full and the warehouse is empty.
Only very few farms can boast their own stalactite cave. In Blank’s case, it happened by chance: Because Thomas Blank’s grandfather needed a larger beer cellar, he dug the cellar deeper in 1892. In the process, he came across a dripstone cave. Fortunately, this was not dug out, as was often done in those days, but has been preserved. With a length of just under 20 meters, the cave is not very large, but it is beautiful and can even be visited when the operation of the restaurant and the weather permits it. Sometimes the water table is so high that the cave is under water. In that case, of course, there are no guided tours.
"It was easy to talk to them. They thought along and didn't talk crap."
Thomas Blank bought his first two Speidel tanks in 2006. He got to know Speidel during a visit to the brewing trade fair in Nuremberg and realised from the zip code that Speidel is not that far away from Zwiefaltendorf. The quality and advice convinced him. "It was easy to talk to them. They thought along and didn't talk crap."
That’s why he asked Speidel again for the expansion in 2021. He trusted the consultant right away. “He’s not going to lie to you,” he says confidently.
Actually, Blank initially wanted to buy used tanks, but he couldn’t find any that would fit in the beer cellar. New tanks with a diameter of 1.50 m were then required, but Speidel otherwise only has 1.40 m or 1.60 m diameters. “They could have said no, but they got stuck in,” Blank says appreciatively. Now there are eight 1-bar pressure tanks with double jackets and 1.50 m diameters in the basement, and Blank is glad he made the decision he did. He is highly satisfied with everything and would choose Speidel again