Illusion Brewery: The Next Step Forward

We’ve previously written about Illusion Brewery,  the company behind The Trapdoor – The Philippine’s first magic themed pub. A few days after our post hit the internet, it went viral. Everybody wanted to visit this amazing pub that had waiters doing magic tricks and the decor that made the pub look like it fell out of the pages of a Harry Potter book.

One year later, we went back to ask the Illusion brewery guys what they had in store for their customers.  We sat down for a short interview with two of Illusion brewery’s owners: Jiggs Santiago and Paolo Sanson  where they share the new and exciting things that are happening in Trap Door and Illusion brewery.

Paolo Sanson and Jiggs Santiago sit down with us to show Bacolod what’s new with Illusion Brewery and The Trapdoor – One of Bacolod’s famous tourist attractions.

Thank you for having me. It’s nice to be back here. So what’s new with Trapdoor, Jiggs?

Jiggs:     Illusion brewery right now is in the process of relaunching  and rebranding our beers. We wanted to make cool Victorian-Style beers that will compliment the look of the pub. Our old labels looked a little more modern than the new ones. That’s why the beers now when you drink it here in the pub – they look like they really belong in the pub.

We created the new labels because we’re going to launch them soon for distribution in Negros and Manila. We stopped selling bottled beers ever since we opened the pub because our beers are on tap rather than in bottles.

The old labels on Illusion brewery’s beers.

By Distribution – what do you mean? Is it in Bacolod? Where do you plan to distribute in Bacolod?

Yes, we’re going to distribute in the usual places such as Manhattan’s fleet, Gorka, Delicioso, Terrasse Bistro and a few other places.

Our idea for relaunching was because when we first launched Illusion brewery we only had three beers. Now we added four more new beers.  Our old beers were the Illusion Pale, Saludo  and Cream of Smiles

We wanted diversity because when we opened the trap door we found out that there are a lot of people who have diverse palates so we wanted to accommodate everyone. Some people would like lighter beers and some like darker beers like our porters.

The new labels look more classy and elegant.

So you created those four new beers to fit in with everyone.

Paolo:     Yup! There’s a saying “If you don’t like beer – you just haven’t found the right beer for you.

What are the four new  kinds of beer?

Jiggs:     We added a lighter ale – The LGS (Low gravity Special).  Mostly our beers are very sessionable. They’re not too high in alcohol so you can keep on drinking and they’re lighter, lower calorie, not really full bodied.  The LGS is the perfect example for that.

How much is the alcohol content for the LGS?

Jiggs:     Four percent but there’s bitterness – that’s why it’s low gravity. The alcohol is low and the bitterness is also really low. It’s also a little bit sweeter.  It’s made up of mostly lighter malts and the hops are very subtle. We created it for the casual beer drinker – The guy who just wants to sit there and drink and not get drunk that fast.

Low gravity Special and Dark Hat

The next beer is the Miser’s dream.  Most of our beers are named after magic tricks because we’re a magic themed pub. That’s what we’re known for.  The Miser’s dream is an IPA.

What’s an IPA?

An IPA is an Indian Pale Ale. These are the hoppy beers, the very bitter ones.  We wanted to create one and for me that’s my favorite beer because I love drinking the hoppy beers. It’s very sessionable just like our next beer the Dark Hat porter.  Usually people think that if you drink dark beers they’re heavy for the stomach – No, it’s not. It’s just the color. Our porter is one of the beers that foreigners love.

The Tourniquet – it’s Paolo’s favorite. That’s our version of a German wheat beer. It has banana and clove taste notes as a by-product of the yeast

Tourniquet and Miser’s Dream

I love the new items on your lunch menu!

We have been getting a lot of requests for lunch and We’re adding steak and burgers. Paolo came up with a new burger that you’ll be seeing very soon.

Clearly Impossible Chicken and Waffles 260 php.
Snow Storm Candied Bacon stout 120 php.
Harry Pot roast 290 php.


So I hear that The Trapdoor has had quite a bunch of famous people come in.

Paolo:     Yes! It’s mostly people from out of town who come here because we are now a tourist attraction in Bacolod.  The celebrities who have visited are Angel Aquino, Philip Salvador, Ethel Booba, Joel Torre and Cherry Hill.

Angel Aquino at The Trapdoor.


Describe the typical illusion brewery experience for the out of town visitor.

Jigs:     When they come here to the pub, People always mistake Illusion brewery for Trapdoor. Illusion Brewery is the owners of Trap Door.  Trap Door is the official tasting room for Illusion brewery’s beers. So that’s the difference. The one thing that we’re really proud of is that when you come here, you hopefully leave with a good experience because our concept and pub is the only one in the Philippines. So, if somebody comes up with something like our place well then, “Imitation is the highest form of flattery.”

It’s expected that our customers want to see magic tricks because that’s our main draw. That’s what people look forward too. We perform tricks for the customers but sometimes we can’t right away when we get really busy.  Once every one’s served then we begin doing magic tricks.  Our place is really popular with kids because of this. Of course we serve them only non alcoholic beverages.

Paolo:     For the kids we have Butterbeer, which is our craft soda. It is non alcoholic with a creamy butterscotch flavor.   We’re also open to having the place rented out for parties and events.  We try as much as possible to answer their messages on Facebook.


Any last message to your fans?

We want Bacolod to be known – to be on the craft beer map especially with all the breweries that are popping up everywhere.  We don’t want to be left behind. We also  want to be one of the market leaders

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