On 28 October 2021, Perth is set to welcome its long-awaited Pirate Life Brewery, in conjunction with one of Western Australia’s most awarded hospitality group operators, Andy Freeman’s Sneakers & Jeans (S&J).
Not only will the new brewery bring a nationally recognised brand to WA, it will also see two well established, respected brands collaborate to create “more than a brew pub” – with Sneaker & Jeans’ investment in the brewery the largest private hospitality investment the CBD has seen in years.
And what a Perth-centric collaboration collective it has been. Pirate Life founders Michael ‘MC’ Cameron, Jack Cameron, and Jared Proudfoot were originally from Perth, however took the project to Adelaide five years ago for ease of distribution – having since grown the brand into a national phenomenon.
“The Pirate Life team are pumped to be partnering with Andy and the Sneakers & Jeans crew for the opening of Pirate Life Perth” says Pirate Life co-founder, Michael ‘MC’ Cameron. “It’s been a long time in the making, but Red, Jack and myself feel immensely privileged to be returning to Perth to open a brewery in such an amazing location – right in the heart of the city.”
Perth-bred S&J has delivered some of Perth’s most iconic hospitality venues such as Varnish on King, The Flour Factory and Hadiqa. Pirate Life Perth will be a comfortable addition to the thriving S&J portfolio. Stickman Tribe, founded by Perth-born Marcos Cain, has overseen the design of the new venue with both S&J and Pirate Life to deliver a new standard in Perth hospitality.
“Pirate Life already has a devoted following with its rebellious approach and its delicious beer” says General Manager of Carlton & United Breweries’ Fire + Earth Ventures, David Stingl.
“Now Perth beer lovers can enjoy the Pirate Life with beer brewed on-site in the CBD, with the great food and events the team are well-known for at their Adelaide brewery. We’re incredibly proud of what Pirate Life and Sneakers & Jeans have achieved with the Brew Pub. By going back to their Perth roots, we think the Pirate Life team have created something very special.”
Following today’s phase one opening announcement, over 40 new jobs have been filled – with more still to come as hospitality operator has confirmed two more venues will be unveiled within the brewery’s Phase two opening later this year.
“A phased opening wasn’t what we wanted, but our hand was forced due to COVID” says Freeman. “It’s been quite the journey since we announced the brewery in September 2019 – little did we know a global pandemic was just round the corner, which has turned our beloved industry on its head.”
A killer team will be running the tight Pirate Life Perth ship behind the scenes. Opening the venue will be the best of S&J’s leadership team with Simon Wallen announced as GM, Jackson Purser as Head Brewer, Charlie Vargas as Head Chef, Yvonne Bluemi overseeing Front of House and Keegan Hartslief managing the beer and drinks program.
“This venue isn’t just about beer, it’s about good people and great hospitality” says Pirate Life’s co-founder, MC. “It’s about lifestyle, employment and helping to regenerate the west end of the city. It’s about celebrating all things that make our fantastic industry great. We couldn’t be prouder.”
Spread over multiple floors at the old Sony Centre building (440 Murray Street), Pirate Life Perth showcases a multitude of unique spaces – including in-house brewery, two private dining rooms and exclusive merchandise digs. Four key brands will make up the space collectively; the Pirate Life Perth brewery and casually fine-dining restaurant, TOMA – with two more identities to follow in the venues’ second phase opening; a yard area and a basement venue, within the brewery.
“It’s easy to forget that just over 12 months ago we had our doors closed – busy building Perth’s biggest brewpub behind the scenes, not knowing if we were ever going to see it open. It was an uncertain time to say the least.”
“I’ve taken a lot of risks and gambles in my career – but opening a multi-million-dollar brewery during a pandemic is by far my biggest. We simply couldn’t wait any longer. We promised Perth a brewery – and a brewery is what they’ll get… and then some.”
Indeed, around 100 tradies have been a part of the $6M Pirate Life Perth story to date, which will breathe life into the previously three-year vacant building owned by the Litis and Somas families – hugely activating the sleepy western end of Murray Street. The new venue will accommodate close to one thousand patrons, located just a stone’s throw away from Perth Arena, Yagan Square and a multitude of hotels. “Our neighbours range from local cafes, businesses, hotels, apartments and companies – and they’re excited – we’re throwing a huge uppercut to this sleepy part of the CBD. It’s time to wake up and smell the frothies!”
And frothies aplenty there will be! October’s Phase one opening will unveil 16 Pirate Life Perth taps in the brewery’s 15-metre main bar (with another 16 taps still to come) – and the promise to be the only place in WA pouring exclusive Perth and Port Adelaide Pirate Life brews.
Perth’s 1,200L tanks are significantly smaller vessels than the 40,000L tanks in the flagship Port Adelaide brewery, Perth’s 1,200L tanks will allow for smaller, more regular batches of beer. This will facilitate Head Brewer Jackson Purser’s ability to pump out some risky, yet innovative brews – ultimately introducing local beers that are unique to the national market, positioning Pirate Life Perth as the “experimental brewery” of the Pirate Life portfolio.
The space is defined by an intimate, industrial feel, created within the shell of the former Sony Centre building. The brewery was custom built to showcase the brewing platform at the same height as the main bar floor – with the rest of the action in the basement. Being the only basement brewery in Perth came with construction challenges, but worth it – housing underground private dining and tasting room, TANK where the Pirate Life crew will host educational tastings. A second private dining room space, The Mezz will also feature in the brewpub, where patrons can enjoy some of the most unique hospitality spaces in Perth.
The venue boasts art murals and installs from local artists, with formerly Adelaide-based artist Mike Maka creating the pièce de resistance – the peacock hung in the main bar being a fond salute to his iconic peacock mural that adorns the flagship Pirate Life Port Adelaide brewery.
Taking influence from S&J venues and the Pirate Life flagship brewery, local and sustainable practices have been adopted for the new brewery. Spent grain from brewing will be shipped to local WA farmers and spent produce from kitchen will be repurposed and incorporated into the venue’s beverage program. Kitchens will source from local WA farmers, including TOMA’s signature TOMAhawk dish.
“This project has been a long dream, an amazing collaboration and a great example of tenacity and perseverance” says Freeman. “I’ve always wanted to open a brewery, but Pirate Life Perth is so much more than that” says Freeman. “It’s a unique space for everyone and the best beer in Australia, with the S&J touch; the finest cocktails, great food and classic Sneakers hospitality.”
“We’re excited to be able to open the venue just as we can see light at the end of the tunnel of the pandemic – Perth has been crying out for a CBD brewpub and we’re totally pumped to turn the taps on just in time for summer.”