Before opening Lucky Bay Brewing, Nigel Metz spent at least seven years perfecting his unique brew while holding down his day job as projects officer for local grower group ‘South East Premium Wheat Growers Association’. Nigel’s professional career working within the grains industry has steered him in the direction of brewing using local, raw barley.
After years of growing grain on the family farm near Ravensthorpe and loving craft beer, Nigel then worked with farmers across the south coast on grain quality which included market development work. This resulted in an understanding of the brewing industry from a technical end, which sparked the interest to give our uniquely local brewery a go.
After more than 30 test brews using the innovative raw barley method, many willing farmers sampling the trials and providing feedback, we finally had something good enough to bring to market. We’re the first brewery in Australia to be using such a high percent of raw barley in our brews, the innovation of this beer science is very exciting to be involved in.
Having a direct link to your end product as a broadacre farmer is quite rare, WA farmers are in the business of growing bulk quality barley which usually ends up at some overseas multinational brewery that you have no connection with. So being able to link the main ingredient in our beer directly back to the people that grew is really exciting.
We are chuffed to be using barley and wheat direct from local farmers, but the scale of our micro brewery means we don’t need much in comparison to the 100’s of thousands of tonnes grown on our doorstep! We feel lucky to be able to provide a truly unique local beer to our local farmers and community made with their premium local grain.
Robyn also comes from a family farm in the north eastern wheatbelt of WA near Wubin, east of the Rabbit Proof Fence. She has worked for the past 24 years in natural resource management in rural WA. A passion for caring for our amazing natural landscapes, rural communities and connecting people to place has resulted in a genuine desire to keep things local, real and connected.
The paddock to pint concept is fully realised in Lucky Bay Brewing’s beers. Using raw local barley and wheat results in a beer with high environmental credentials. It hasn’t had the food miles or energy consumed as a result of the malting process, combine this with solar power, rain water, no preservatives, local stories, local people and local places creates a beer experience with a genuine sense of place that is truly locally crafted like no other.
Photo includes ‘Wookie’ the brewery dog who joined the team as a puppy in 2018.
“Graphic Design is my passion.
As a professional artist’s daughter, I was destined for a career in the arts. In the early 90’s I studied the many facets of Visual Communication at University in the UK, and have been working, educating & practicing in this area for over 25 years.
When I first discovered that my friends and neighbours were planning on starting a brewery in Esperance I was super excited and immediately images started to pour into my mind! How could they not with a name like Lucky Bay Brewing! So when Robyn & Nigel asked me to work with them to create their brand intently I was ready! Months of research and concept development has resulted in a strong & flexible final brand identity.
The Kangaroo changed quite considerably through the development of the brand! A lot of research and sketching practice and now we are very happy with the compelling face of Brew the Roo!
I have enjoyed this design job a lot! And I look forward to the release of the beer & the brand!
Left high school not really knowing what I wanted to do, except that I liked maths and science which eventually led to applying to study chemistry at uni a year or 2 later. After uni I had a few different jobs all of which never felt like it would be something I would like to do long term. My last job before starting here is where I met something that helped me get started with all grain home brewing, I had always had an interest in all grain brewing just never knew where to get started. Once the homebrewing felt like it was a hobby I might stick with the purchases continued, it was during this stage I started to look into how I can turn this from a hobby and into a career.
I started a post graduate course through Federation uni in Ballarat Victoria in my spare time while working in IT, luckily I got to do my week onsite for the course before Covid hit. By this stage I was roughly about 50% through the course when I got to meet Nigel and Robyn. I got to help with a few brews before I eventually landed the job of brewer, which meant packing everything up and moving ~700km from Mandurah down to Esperance.
Adam Cope is a school teacher who realized he was really passionate about brewing after he worked with his students to malt, roast and brew with barley that the students had grown and harvested at the school farm. “Being able brew a good beer is very rewarding but to link the beer to a specific location, well that’s pretty special.”
A small pilot brewery grew in his shed, next-door to what would one day become the Lucky Bay Brewery. The pilot system was cobbled together from bits that could be bought from the hardware and homebrew stores or raided from the kitchen. Batch by batch processes were improved, and recipes tested and refined. Lots of testing. Lots of testing.
With the offer of a chance to brew commercially with his good friends at Lucky Bay Brewing, the pressure was on to really get up to speed with brewing on a large scale. A ‘business trip’ to Perth with Nigel to attend a brewing course gave the boys a perfect opportunity to visit lots of breweries, see how things were done, and ask lots of questions.
“The industry people that we met were so generous with their help. They have been really supportive of the new venture here in Esperance.”
Still with only a handful of commercial brews with Lucky Bay Brewing, Adam considers himself to be at the base of a very steep learning curve. “I’m stoked to have had this opportunity and really happy with how these first brews have come out. It has been an amazing experience. As we collaborate to fine-tune recipes and processes for the new brew-plant, I can only expect that over the course of the next few brews, the products will continue to get even better.”
Gavin and Elaine Egan, with son Brad farm in the Scaddan area 50km north of Esperance.
Murrumboola Farm is a quality assured sustainable farm. Egan’s are also members of SEPWA (South East Premium Wheatgrowers Association) who understand the importance of producing a premium food quality grain product rather than a bulk commodity grain product.
Lucky Bay Brewing sources premium barley and wheat direct from Egan’s to the brewery, where it is milled, and brewed into your truly local craft beer.
Lucky Bay Brewing also sources quality grain from other farmers in the WA wheatbelt for specific brews. To date this includes from Wubin, Meckering, Wylkatchem, Kalannie, and Cascade. See our ‘special brews’ page for details. Want to make your own beer with your own grain – ring us to discuss, as it is possible thanks to our innovative use of premium raw barley!
And if that wasn’t enough local connection for you, Lucky Bay Brewing has also teamed up with budding local baker Tiffany Brown who uses some of the brewer’s grain in her delightful sourdough bread. The grain left over after brewing is rich in fibre and proteins and makes for a tasty wholegrain loaf.
Local farmer Steve Bradley and his herd of happy cows and sheep gratefully ensure every last bit of spent grain is put to good use…
as do Robyn and Nigel’s chooks!