Owner Betty Bollas: Fibonacci Brewing Co.
Nature and math mix deliciously at this small brewery just north of Cincinnati that grows ingredients for its beers on its urban farm.
Betty Bollas loves plants. Her husband, Bob, loves math. These interests find a natural union in the brewing process, where plant-based ingredients meet biochemistry to yield liquid culinary art. When the pair founded their brewery in 2015, they settled on the name Fibonacci to represent the application of mathematics to the natural world.
“The Fibonacci ratio is found in so many plants in nature, like hops, pinecones and a lot of flowers,” Betty Bollas explains.
The Fibonacci taproom in Mount Healthy, just north of Cincinnati, used to be the home of the florist who sold the Bollases their wedding flowers. (They still use the drive-through window for carryout beer sales.) The taproom and brew-house itself are small, but Fibonacci also has a large, shaded beer garden and a pen that houses two brewery goats, Honey and Fiddlehead.
Plants figure heavily in Fibonacci’s eclectic beers, and the Bollases use many foraged ingredients. Local pawpaws go into a wheat beer, and neighborhood mulberries go into a sour ale. Fibonacci also uses herbs and produce grown locally or right on its urban farm.
“Right now, we have mushrooms and have a number of fruit trees and nut bushes,” says Bollas. “We also have mint, lemon balm and chocolate mint. I want at least 80% of our beers to have a local product in them.”
In addition to growing plants, Bollas has also established an apiary to provide honey for the brewery. The Horaffa cream ale uses honey, lemon and Thai basil. Her job isn’t all whimsical plant husbandry though. Running an extremely small brewery means she is constantly assuming different roles.
“I clean toilets, I feed goats, I deliver beer,” she says. “It’s a little of everything.”
That understanding of what running a small brewery requires recently led to Betty being appointed to the board of the Brewers Association, the trade group for America’s craft breweries.
“There are so many people who know more about beer than I do,” she acknowledges. “But there’s this other piece, the gaps in craft beer like human resources and equity and inclusion. People may know how to brew beer but do they know how to run a business?” 1445 Compton Rd., Cincinnati 45231, 513/832-1422, fibbrew.com