“Apparently, when I was about one or two I fell out of the bed and I’ve got a scar, so I am assuming that predisposed me to dumb ideas,” says Reece Wheadon with a laugh when asked why he wants to open a brewpub.
It is to be called Nowhere Man Brewing Co and will open in the Perth suburb of West Leederville after more than four years of planning and hard work. Reece isn’t new to the local beer scene; in fact, he’s been a bit of an everywhere man in terms of WA beer over the years, spending time as the director of WA Beer Week and, in 2011, set up one of the first WA focused craft beer festivals. Thus Nowhere Man feels like the logical destination for his years of dedication to and passion for local beer.
“We are a ridiculous mystery brewery,” says Reece, laughing again.
The reason is that he’s been sporting Nowhere Man Brewing t-shirts for a while now, having finalised his logo a while back. Beer people tend to notice when a brewery shirt is unfamiliar, so it helped kicked off his marketing campaign early. He's found the name itself also prompts conversation.
“It’s a very catchy song on a great album,” he says of the 1965 Beatles song after which the brewery is names. “It’s from a personal place.
“To me, it’s about modern day society's disengagement with political conversation and politics, which is why the song personally appeals to me, not necessary anything to do with the brewery.”
The logo by Jarrod Fuller at Zendoke, who is also responsible for the branding for local distillery Whipper Snapper and new Sydney gypsy operation Bounty Hunter, takes influence from Reece’s own love of meaningful stencil and street art.
“I went straight for him and didn’t consider any other graphic designers based purely on what he’s done with Whipper Snapper,” says Reece.
Having secured a location and with a brew kit on its way to Perth, Nowhere Man just needed a brewer. Luckily Reece knew a guy who was available.
Paul Wyman (pictured at the top of the article) comes to the project with a fine pedigree, having spent years at The Monk in Fremantle and, most recently, at Colonial Brewing in Margaret River. Paul finished up with Colonial Brewing in August and has since been taking a break and, after an informal chat with Reece, he realised that Nowhere was right where he wanted to be.
“I think I’m a better brewer now from my experience with Colonial,” Paul says, with the brewery affording him the chance to brew at a larger commercial scale compared to The Monk and develop a better understanding of consistency and quality. But rather than step up in size again, Paul wanted to find something he could get passionate about.
“I want to put my name to something, to live it and breathe it,” Paul says.
When he joined The Monk and Colonial Brewing, the core range of beers was relatively settled but Nowhere Man will give Paul the chance to build beers from scratch. To be doing all this with a friend of more than five years is an added bonus.
“I’m excited," says Reece. "I respect Paul as a brewer hugely.”
The brewpub design will take inspiration from the likes of Mountain Goat and Two Birds in its open plan industrial feel. The location in West Leederville is a short walk from central Leederville and an even shorter walk from the train station. Being local will be key to their brewpub and reflected in all aspects of their menu and beers.
“All our produce will be the same as our beer, wine and spirits, which is all 100 percent West Australian sourced,” says Reece. “Fresh is best and that will be our mantra for everything we do.”
The brew kit is currently on its way: an 18 hectolitre kit from Premier Stainless, on which Paul will brew four or five core range beers and a rotating series of limited releases.
“Whatever we make, someone needs to want to drink it again” says Reece. “There’s no point making a quadruple IPA that you have a middy of and have to put it down and never go back to it.”
That said, they're not planning on dumbing anything down. “We want to educate and challenge people,” Paul says.
The guys are in the process of deciding what their core range will look like, a process that has unsurprisingly involved a lot of beer tasting, discussion and research.
“The market is already established, you can’t just walk into it thinking, ‘Oh, we’ll just have a crack at it’,” says Paul.
Though the brewpub is still a few months away, there will be Nowhere Man beers popping up between now and then. They’ve collaborated with Little Creatures and Bootleg Brewery for the WA Beer Week Beer through the Ages event and will also be gypsy brewing a Nowhere Man pale ale for the Light Up Leederville festival in December.
Sample the first Nowhere Man collab at this event.
About the author: Pia Poynton is the girl behind girl + beerCrafty Pint WA on Twitter.