It takes a Village - Meet KeeganBACK TO FUN STUFF
It takes a village to bring Eagle Bay Brewing Co to you, and with every village its people are its backbone. As part of our “It takes a Village” journal, we meet some of the people that make our village.
Meet Keegan, our Brewery Operations Manager.
“So, the long story is my girlfriend at the time (now wife) Bri was the catalyst in turning my life upside down and getting me to where I am today. At that point we had been dating for 18 months and I didn’t really like what I was doing, where I was working, where I was living and Bri was keen to head off traveling, which I hadn’t done in my life yet either. So I thought, I’m only 24 and I’ve got an opportunity here to utilise everything that I’ve worked for at this point, start fresh and have a full reset. I didn’t like where I was going and I had the opportunity to change it. I sold my house, quit my job as a Heavy Duty Mechanic & Machinist and we went to Europe for four months and then decided that I wouldn’t mind making beer for a living. Without Bri’s support I wouldn’t be where I am today, so she deserves most of the credit for any delicious beers I get to make !”
When he returned Keegan got a job at Mash Brewing, starting on the packaging line and doing deliveries. Then he quickly worked his way up into brewing on a daily basis. In 2017 Keegan & Bri moved down south when Keegan accepted a role as a production brewer at Eagle Bay Brewing Co working alongside Co-Founder and Head of Brewing Operations Nick d’Espeissis.
In 2019 Keegan was appointed Head Brewer and had one additional Brewer working alongside him. Since then Eagle Bay’s brewing team has slowly grown over the last couple of years, with the guidance of Keegan. Finishing off 2022 Keegan is now our Brewery Operations Manager and we have a team of four Brewer’s, a logistics legend, and are about to onboard a quality officer.
What has surprised you most about brewing ?
“The depth. Just the insane amount of knowledge that you need to know to be able to do this job. I mean I’m seven years in and I feel like I’m barely scratching the surface and my knowledge is constantly evolving. It’s a space ripe for imposter syndrome! I’m currently studying the IBD Diploma of Brewing, so far, I’ve completed one module of three, and once I’ve completed and passed the additional two I will get my diploma. It’s about an additional 15 hours of study per week on top of working full-time. Our brewer’s Jackson, Matt, Cameron and Rhys all completed their IBD General Certificate of Packaging last year and they are currently all doing study for the IBD General Certificate of Brewing with a view to them completing Diplomas of their own one day. Knowledge is key here and we all need to continue learning. The brewing industry shifts and changes with new trends and new science all the time.”
What have been your favourite brewing creations ?
“That’s too hard, it’s like trying to pick a favourite child, but if I had to, I’d say Triple Decoction Lager has to be up there, just purely based on the amount of effort it took. Secondly, I do think that our 2022 Black Vanilla collab with Mane Liquor is pretty good because it’s always hard having a second crack at a beer. There was a long enough time frame between the two that it wasn’t exactly the same and people aren’t comparing it directly to the old one. But it was to my mind a pretty good representation of the previous beer. Definitely our Oaked Vienna Lager collab with Copper and Oak and lastly our Wheatbelt Lager. Look at that – three Lager’s in my top four favourite beers. I’ve also got a soft spot for our mixed ferment projects that will be coming out next year. They’ve been about 4 years in the making alongside our regular production and have pushed me to learn a lot of new tricks. It seems I like the beers that have challenged me the most…”
What do you love most about creating a Lager ?
“They’re very hard to get right. The challenge is always part of it, but when they’re bang on, when they’re perfect, they just sing so much better than anything else. There’s an intangible thing with beer, you can have a beer that ticks every box, which has no faults. It’s the right colour, the right amount of haze or clarity and it hits all the right criteria, but it’s just a little soulless and then you get a Lager that’ll be just right and it just absolutely rips. It’s just so much better than anything else you’ve had. That’s what I like about it – they are genuinely very hard to brew and get right You’ve got to dive into the minutia, the fine detail. You’ve got to have everything right – the water, the mineral salts, good malt, good hops and you’ve got to have your process right. Everything’s got to be bang on for them to hit it. Lagers are a good test of your process, of your facility, your infrastructure and of your patience. Everything’s got to be right, and when they’re right, they absolutely slap.”
What do you love about leading the team at Eagle Bay ?
“Probably just seeing the growth in the team and development and camaraderie of that team that I really enjoy the most. I think it’s a really good place to go to work and I’m always very excited to see the team get better as individuals and us do better as a team”
Any regular rituals that keep you in check for your physical health or your mental health ?
“Mountain biking for sure.”
Coffee or tea?
“Currently neither, but I’m sure I’ll give in at some point, though it has been nice”
Sunrise or sunset?
Summer or winter ?
Current after work drink ?
Favourite local go-to’s ?
Margaret River Brewhouse
What are you watching ?
Currently re-watching The Office. All time classic.
What are you currently listening to ?
(((o))) – I was in the top 0.05% of listeners this year apparently….Perhaps I need to diversify?