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Bircus Puts the Circus in Northern Kentucky Brewing Scene

"It's a concession. Circuses make money selling concessions. It's very popular as a concession."

Paul Miller is well-known to Northern Kentucky audiences and festival-goers as the leader of Circus Mojo, the Ludlow-based performance troupe that travels around the region. He's also embarking upon a new concept to help sustain his circus.

It all started with a trip to Berlin for a conference where he was one of only two participants that had to pay their own way. Everyone else was supported by government grants or other subsidies. "I met a Belgian guy and he said, I am here from selling beer," Miller said. "And I thought, that is a fantastic concept." So, Miller licensed the idea, and has been working to launch Bircus Brewing ever since.

Now, he's closer than ever. 

Miller set out to raise $150,000 from small investors, and swiftly hit the $100,000 mark, as noted by the beer bottles being painted on a fence near the Ludlow Theater where the brewery and circus will operate.

Some of Bircus's fortunes have come from others' loss: the brewery equipment was achieved at a cheaper than usual price after the previous owner went out of business. Light and sound equipment came from an arts organization that went under. Other fortunes have seem more divine. Miller's brewer, Alex Clemens, happened to hear about the Bircus project while listening to a podcast out of Louisville. He also happened to live in Ludlow. Clemens contacted Miller days later. Clemens, who had been learning about homemade alcohol since he was a young man placed in a bucket to stomp grapes by his wine-enthusiast father, also had a connection to Circus Mojo: his wife is a resident at Children's Hospital where Miller's performers keep children entertained regularly.

"The circus gods and the beer gods conspired to bring this together," MIller said.

The next fundraising event for potential investors is Thursday, August 11. For details, check out the Facebook event.

Miller and Clemens joined RCN's Michael Monks to talk about Bircus and more.