Tucked away amongst auto shops and junkyards in Bayswater is potentially Perth’s most exciting new spot for beer and barbecue lovers.
Early next year, Big Don’s Smoked Meats and New State, a hugely popular new pop-up brewery starring Innate’s former head brewer Joel Nash, plan to open a steakhouse and taproom in a currently dilapidated 1,000-square-foot warehouse across the street. across the street from a recycling plant. .
“The neighbors are glad we’re not manufacturing meth,” laughs Donovan “Big Don” MacDonald, a native of Alberta, Canada. “We’re smoking barbecue and brewing beer.”
After starting his “bum” business in his backyard before launching as Big Don’s in 2017 (just before he took the layoff of a management position at Woolworths), MacDonald’s unique direct-to-consumer business model has become what which he claims as the “greatest pop”. -in the world, not just in Perth”.
Every Monday he posts his menu on Instagram, before spending 35 to 38 hours smoking during a three to four hour service where his team serves up delicious barbecue dishes for hundreds of people.
Big Don’s employs three full-time employees, plus one part-time, before growing to a dozen for the frenetic service.
Some events are ticketed, while others are first-come, first-served affairs. Make pop-ups at venues, bottle shops, and festivals, or just let customers know where your food truck will be once they’ve paid.
It typically racks up “five-figure sales,” and the only event that didn’t sell out was an Election Day barbecue held at an ice rink.
As his team smokes 300 pounds of brisket and about $2,000 of brined Wagyu steak in huge 10,000-gallon wood-burning smokers at the other end of the Bayswater warehouse, MacDonald says he’s been invited by “at least 10 breweries” to switch Big Don’s to your event.
“If I’m going to open a brewery,” he says, “I want to be one of the owners.”
Neighbors are glad we’re not manufacturing meth.
Enter Nash, who ended more than six years brewing for Innate Brewers in Spearwood in January and was looking to fulfill a dream of running his own.
New State will be prepping on one side of the warehouse, which is divided by a partial wall, with Big Don throwing “Australia’s best barbecue” on the other.
The 120-seat neighborhood tavern and restaurant will only be open two days a week. Nash plans to release a new beer every Friday, with Saturdays focused on tucker. There will be a rotating BBQ and beer menu to keep customers coming back.
“My customers,” MacDonald says, “if they have to stand in line for an hour for a barbecue and have a beer in hand, they’re at least 50 percent happier.”
Nash hopes to install its innovative 12-hectoliter brew kit in October and aims to produce 75,000 liters of beers a year, from trendy pastry sours and big IPAs to solo-core Czech pils.
The warehouse is rustic, to be polite, and won’t be getting a fancy makeover. There will be indoor picnic tables and outdoor seating in the sprawling backyard. Expect bonfires, parking lot parties, and an overall relaxed atmosphere.
Rent is cheap, and the partners aim to keep costs down to ensure they are profitable from the start.
“As long as the food and beer are good, people won’t mind being in an alley,” laughs MacDonald. “It’s pretty ugly, but it has a lot of potential.”