There is a large number of people that when you first tell them about the Ludlow, Kentucky based circus/brewery hybrid known as ‘Bircus’ want to tell you about how it’s a gimmick.  I won’t argue that, and I don’t think that the head clown on duty, also known as Paul Miller (he’s actually a former clown… that’s not me creating an insult) would disagree either.  The big thing that you have to keep in mind about gimmicks is that as long as they are good ones – no one gives a crap.  Barrel aged beer?  Wild yeast?  Rooftop bars?  Craft beer?  It’s all gimmick – but they’re also all great gimmicks.

The Long Road To Bircus

I believe that Paul told me that the journey has been somewhere around 9 years to get this taproom’s doors open.  The project certainly had its hurdles – but in that time they’ve also achieved some big things that they can hang their rainbow wigs on.

Take, for instance, their ownership plan.  They are the first brewery in the United States to be completely funded by low-cost equity shares of the business.  They took advantage of some new allowances in the law that let “normal people” like you or me to invest in companies.  It’s the same law that is allowing places like the upcoming Esoteric Brewing in Walnut Hills to adopt similar plans for equity sharing.

It’s all culminated in the opening of a taproom that many people said (and still say) can’t work.  A circus and a brewery that lives under the same roof.  They both support each other and help make the whole picture turn into something that is different than this city has ever imagined possible.

The Grand Opening

Like any good ringmaster, Paul is planning a Grand Opening that should be well worth the wait.

It all kicks off at noon at the newly renovated Ludlow Theater, a historic building at 322 Elm Street in Ludlow, Kentucky.  They will have what they’re calling a Spectacular Circus ribbon “cutting” followed up by festivities until midnight – with beer, circus performers, music, food vendors and more!

If you haven’t figured it out by now – I have a little bit of a soft spot for those people that have been told that they can’t do something, or that it won’t work.  The passion that has not just created this project, but that has pushed it on and on to this point is exactly what makes me so excited to write about this industry.  And I couldn’t be happier to stand in this taproom and watch the impossible come to life.

Paul Miller may be a clown.  He may run a gimmick of a brewery tucked next to a gimmick of a circus… but I believe in it.

-The Gnarliest Gimmick of All… The Gnome.

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