Managing Brooklyn’s Up and Coming Brewery

Circa Brewing’s manager, Wilson Anderson, tells us how his experience as a professional dancer translates to running Brooklyn’s up and coming brewery.

“The workplace shouldn’t be a place where people dread to go every day. They should have a good time there.”

A solid management philosophy if ever there was one.

I sat down the other day, virtually, with Wilson Anderson, the manager of Brooklyn’s up and coming brewery, to find out what makes him tick and how he approaches running the award-winning Circa Brewing.

Turns out, there’s a lot more to him than hospitality management. A whole lot more.

For starters, he was born right here in Brooklyn, so he knows the borough inside and out: the people, the places, the culture and history.

But that’s not all.

In fact, he was a professional dancer for many years. Yeah, seriously. And I’m not talking about ‘line dancin’ on Saturday night in some club where they sing “Rawhide” from behind chicken wire, either.

He left Brooklyn years ago, to take his talents to Chicago, where he danced with the Hubbard Street Dance company, for a year.

Just so you know, Hubbard is considered THE premier contemporary dance company in America. And they only have a limited number of dancers at any given time.

While dancing with the company, Wilson traveled the country, and to Europe, doing shows in Germany and London.

“I even got to meet Lin Manuel Miranda once while in Chicago!”

After a year of dancing for the top company, Wilson realized it would be impossible to move up from there, so he left the company, moved back to New York, and went freelance for a few years.

“I did really well as a freelance dancer, but I also supplemented my income by working as a server in bars and restaurants. I had always done that, so it seemed natural.”

In 2017, he spotted an ad for servers at a new brewpub in his home town of Brooklyn. Soon after, he was one of the first employees of Circa Brewing.

“I’ve been here since the beginning. I worked as a server for awhile, then moved up to bartender. Now I run the show.”

Wilson tries to bring some fun to work, though he admits, not every day is smooth. Life happens and you have to roll with it, or do a dance…

Managing a brewpub is a kind of dance, he admits. People are people, and sometimes they have bad days. He approaches those challenges with a firm smile, and light footwork.

“If the staff is happy, the customer is happy,” he says.

He’s seen a lot of changes over Circa’s five years. Owners, chefs, brewers, have come and gone, but he’s still here, dancing his way through the job, as he’s always done.

The Big Challenge

And it was this attitude that helped steer Circa through the biggest challenge ever: Covid.

Many restaurants and bars around the country didn’t make it.

It was a struggle to keep the doors open, but Circa managed to roll with the punches, and their loyal customers came to pick up growlers at The Window, the yellow extension on the sidewalk.

It was a simple solution, but a commitment to keep going, to keep dancing, even when somedays it seemed there was little to dance about.

What’s new for Circa?

Wilson points out they’re getting ready to celebrate their fifth anniversary this July, so look for some fun events around that.

And Circa has a new chef, with Michelin Star experience! That means a new menu! More on that to come…

All this great news coming on top of the brewery’s first award winning performance at the New York Craft Brewers Competition, where their head brewer, Mike Kulha brought home the top honors for his Spacelab Wheat.

There are some great things headed to the Circa stage.

Come on in and give Circa a try!

And if you see Wilson, maybe ask him for a dance?


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