The scenic drive along West Swan Road in Swan Valley calms the mind. Grapes vines line both sides, dotted by cellar doors, orchards and a chocolate factory, all of which is less than thirty minutes from Perth’s CBD.
It’s exactly the kind of place you’d want to work after years of toil as a FIFO mining electrician, as is the case for brothers Steve and Daniel Bailey.
The career change was in part sparked by Steve’s long-time homebrewing efforts, with family discussions soon turning to: “Where could we open a family friendly brewery venue?”
A chance spotting of a “For Sale” on a ten acre prime location led to what’s now Bailey Brewing Co.
The near two-year process from then to opening, from idea to pouring the first drop, was peppered with challenges, not least a global pandemic. However, the brewery grounds now exude a relaxed calm; shaded by mature gum trees, they’re perfect for a lazy lunch, and in all likelihood staying a little longer than planned.
Part of this ambience can be credited to Cross Design architects, whose previous work includes the Stables, Raffles Hotel and Steve’s Fine Wine and Food. They’ve helped give Bailey’s a modern homestead vibe, with the brewery and venue surrounded by open lawn, picnic tables of adult and child sizes, and a substantial, 850 square metre nature playground. The windmill logo references the vintage one left by the previous owners, and use of recycled brick contributes warmth throughout.
With a 245-person capacity at time of writing, and the ability to scale to 700 people, the venue’s grounds are separated by green-sided walkways, while the northern side of the venue has larger functions in mind – from bands to weddings – and comes with its own separate amenities.
Bailey’s menu focuses on classic pub fare, including house made pizzas charred in the substantial oven, Parmigianas, chicken wings, burgers and an array of share platters for group meals; breakfast is available on weekends too. The Bailey family is even sourcing and roasting coffee onsite, and then there’s the seemingly endless selection of merch.
The 12 hectolitre brewhouse is ably supported by fermenter capacity to 25 hectolitres, a ratio which has scale in mind. Head brewer Damien Bussemaker arrives after stints at Elmar’s, Mash and Ogdens over the past decade, and is keenly supported by Steve and Dan.
His debut range features an American style pale ale, a summer ale, red ale and cider, with mid, hazy and IPA, plus a cider and ginger beer, next in line. These are available at the venue, with cans for takeaway purchase and Perth retailers on their way. One of the previous owners, Alton “Toppy” Geer, sold honey from the property for years and antique equipment from his old tool shed now features throughout Bailey Brewing Co. So, continuing the location’s legacy, the Baileys are back making honey, and plan to make a honey beer with his name.
It’s an approach – creating a very modern, family-friendly brewery venue with respect for the past and an eye on the future – that should see the Baileys set fair as they welcome all-comers to their relaxed Swan Valley home, underneath the gum trees.