By Beverly Drapalik
Firefighter by day. Brewmaster by night.
Sounds like a fictional action hero, but in reality, this is a description of Travis Brausch, owner of Brausch Brewery.
Since 2007, he has been a full-time firefighter for the city of Mason, but in the summer of 2015, he opened the brewery at 1030 S. South St. in Wilmington. Thursdays through Saturdays, the corner lights up with flags, food trucks and patrons’ cars.
Beer was not always the passion. The plan was to become an artist, which he did. He received his degree from AIC College of Design in Cincinnati.
“Once I graduated, I worked for Chesapeake Group, a packaging design firm where I designed packages for many popular products that are currently found on grocery store shelves,” he said.
He worked there for four years.
In 2005, he worked with his brother, Todd, who owns a mural business, Brausch Studios, in Lithopolis, Ohio.
“At one point, we were contracted out to a company that works with surrounding Catholic churches,” Brausch said.
That company, Trinity Church Supply, sent the brothers to Italy to learn about restoring statues. While there, he learned about restoration. He also learned he loved beer.
He spent time in Germany and Prague, learning that extra steps are valuable when making beer. When he returned, he and his wife, Christine, put away their wine-making kit and started experimenting with making beer.
Brausch keeps perfecting his beer, the most well-known being the Wilmington Lager.
One of the favorite beers is the Oatmeal Peanut Butter Lager. Another favorite is the Red Whiskey Lager, which ferments in maraschino cherries for an extra long time.
At least nine different beers are listed on the chalkboard behind the bar. Next to the chalkboard is the logo that Brausch designed. Brausch Brewery T-shirts and growlers are also on display behind the bar, and board games and books line one wall.
Beer and music go together, and Brausch has chosen Charlie Nicol to sing on Thursday nights from 7-10 p.m. Nicol covers just about any artist, and if you ask nicely, he might sing one of his original songs. More entertainment will be added on Fridays and Saturdays, and the hope is to add a stage and dance floor.
Adding to the friendly atmosphere is the bartender, Tim Brausch, another brother. He is at home behind the bar, but he is also at home on Sunday mornings leading the choir at St. Columbkille, and working at the church during the week.
“Opening our own business has come with many challenges and hurdles, but we have been blessed with many amazing customers that come out and support us weekend after weekend,” Brausch said.
He also said his 10 siblings and Christine’s 15 siblings have provided much appreciated loyalty.
1030 S. South St., Wilmington, OH 45177
Also available at The Mediterranean Restaurant and Cafe.