It Takes a Village - Meet Keith


It takes a village to bring Eagle Bay Brewing Co to you, and with every village it’s people are its backbone. As part of our It takes a Village journal, we meet some of the people that make our village.
Meet Keith Warrick, our General Manager.

“Hospitality’s been a significant part of my life since university days. I had a very charmed upbringing living in the UK, with proximity to Europe and ability to travel and experience this ‘other world’. I was born in ’67, so through my childhood, things like Parmesan cheese, Roma tomatoes and olive oil were luxury items and were not part of the British culinary repertoire at all. Travelling through Europe, experiencing wine, experiencing artisanal produce opened my eyes to an exciting world of food and beverage.”

“After school I ended up working in hospitality in a hotel in London and I thought, there’s something in this, I could see myself doing this. I’m dealing directly with people, I can make such a big difference to their experience and their day”

“I went on to Middlesex University and did a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Catering Administration. It involved working in France and I fell on my feet there. I spent six months in a two Michelin Star restaurant in Champagne, where the Head chef took me under his wing, and you can only imagine what their wine cellar looked like.”

“Then I was back in the UK where the university hooked me up with a hotel which I did not find hugely inspiring, so I managed to negotiate my way out of that and ended up at the Groucho Club, a private members club in Soho. This was a life changing experience in terms of my understanding of what hospitality can represent, with a niche clientele from the arts, media, literature and politics. Basically, you had to know everybody’s name and preferences and deliver everything to the highest possible standard.”

“Then, in 2003 Sian and I decided to pack up the kids and move from the UK to Australia. A big challenge with hospitality in the UK at the time, was that it was not really a family-friendly career. I was working seven days a week and we had two young kids, which was rough on us all, so the move to Australia was an opportunity to change the script for me.”

“I always had a passion for wine, so I found an opportunity to work for a winery, Capel Vale and started out in territory Sales with them. I relished the opportunity and through a combination of sales growth and by way of recognition of the contribution I was making, behind the scenes, to improving visitation to the cellar door and restaurant saw my role morph from Territory Sales to Operations Manager and then in time, becoming General Manager.”

“Then after Capel Vale I moved to Dunsborough to be the General Manager at Wise Winery – which is where I got to know the d’Espeissis family and, make the connection here at the brewery. After Wise Winery I moved to Happs Winery and then from there to Eagle Bay Brewing Co.

“The biggest distinction between managing Cellar Door / Winery operations to managing Eagle Bay Brewing Co is the size of the team. Six years ago when I started, we’d have a team of 10 full time and around 20 casuals, we’re now 70 strong. It is a vastly different picture.”

“That said, the task of managing one beverage business versus another, is much the same. A big focus is staying relevant to our customer’s needs. Eagle Bay has an attractive core range offering, on which it has built its reputation, delivering consistently good beer at the highest possible standard, that has cemented our place with both the drinks trade and with consumers”

“What we’re doing now with the Single Series, IPAs, small batch slots like the Hoops project, and Modern Retro Lager project, is exciting, because we’re now taking our drinkers on a journey with the same quality focus, from core range all the way through to limited releases.”

“What keeps me coming into work every day, is the role I play, working with the owners and as part of a team, the journey we are on, constantly seeking to improve from both a strategic and operational point of view. We strive to grow our knowledge and skills as a management team, learning to be more professional, to really understand the business and develop a fabulous workplace culture.”

Daily Rituals ?

1. Morning exercise. I’m an early bird, so whether it’s swim or gym or bike ride, it’s always early morning.

2. I’m a list keeper. I love lists and their constant refinement.

3. I switch off at the end of the day, even if it’s just for a short period, read a book for half an hour, go for a stroll over the road on the beach, try to reset the day.

Current after work drink or weekend drink?
Chardonnay before Shiraz

Your top three local go-to’s?

1. Barnyard for dining

2. Yallingup Hills from a bike riding perspective.

3. Smiths Beach, I’ve got a strong affiliation through the surf club. It’s the beach that I volunteer my time to patrol, to train, to provide water safety to the nippers on a Sunday morning. It’s almost like a Sunday tradition for me.