Found Lab may have only opened its doors in May 2023, but the team behind the Byford-based brewhouse – Will Irving, James Pedlow, Steve Finney, Natalie Moeahu-Pehi and Scott Player – are hardly the new kids on the brewing block with such names as Feral Brewing, Gage Roads, Little Creatures and Matso’s on their collective resumes.
In 2022 they secured the heritage-listed Perth Girls School in East Perth for their HQ, but when that project was delayed, the founders decided to look a little further afield. With the steady sprawl of suburbia pushing towards WA’s South West, Perth’s southern suburbs were the perfect spot – Byford specifically.
“Scattered throughout every country town is a local pub [that] serves as a community nucleus, that the locals would champion as their own. For Byfordians, we want them to feel proud that Found is theirs,” Moeahu-Pehi tells Broadsheet.
Save 20% when you buy two or more Broadsheet books. Order now to make sure they arrive in time for Christmas.SHOP NOW
Found Lab’s spacious 200-seat space houses a bar, kitchen and a 600-litre bespoke two-vessel brewing tank. The space has an inviting greenhouse aesthetic with hanging indoor plants and floor-to-ceiling windows with lakeside views.
“We wanted to change peoples’ preconceptions of [breweries],” says Moeahu-Pehi, “taking a step away from traditional masculine environments of concrete, metal and timber and opting for greenery, soft furnishings and a fun-filled family-orientated design.”
The kitchen, headed up by Trent Willmott (ex-The Iluka), offers modern pub grub with a few global twists, with inspiration drawn from the team’s reconnaissance trip to the US. (Expect a French dip sandwich inspired by the famous version from Phillipe’s in LA.)
Co-founder Irving (ex-Feral Brewing) takes care of brewing operations.
“On my side, quality and variety is key. If it’s not up to standard, then it doesn’t see the light of day,” Irving tells Broadsheet. “We designed the brewery to make experimentation easier with a focus on hop products. I knew we had a bit of a battle on our hands introducing a 5.2 per cent hazy to a town of Carlton Dry drinkers, but [we’ve] been welcomed with open arms.”
“We’re on a mission to show [people that] great beer, food, atmosphere and hospitality can be found anywhere,” says Moeahu-Pehi.