Set on a sprawling 38-hectare property in the beautiful Mornington Peninsula just around the corner from my home, is one of my favourite local meeting spots, St Andrews Beach Brewery which was transformed by Melbourne design firm Ewert Leaf from a historic former horse training facility to a multi-faceted hospitality space, serving as both a community hub and culinary destination.
The clients, who each have a personal link with the original facility, briefed Ewert Leaf to design a space that gives back to the local community and honours its heritage as a home to some of the most famous racehorses in Australian history. Ewert Leaf designed an inherently sustainable and functional space to align with the clients’ ethos, as well as their aim for the property to supply 50% of the produce required for food and beverage production within five years.
Cleverly retaining the original context by repurposing features and materials from the former structure, Ewert Leaf designed a paddock-to-plate venue and full-scale tank to glass brewery – including cellar door, tasting rooms and bars.
“We wanted to pay homage to the existing fabric of the site and reimagine as much of the structure and materiality as we could, as this aligned directly with the sustainable aspects of the business itself,” says Director Toby Ewert.
In the sunlit courtyard, sixteen stables were converted into intimate booths playfully named after their famous former inhabitants, including Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva. Reclaimed ironbark cladding was incorporated into banquette seating, joinery elements and the venue’s front gate.
Grassy racing tracks wrapping the site were landscaped with more than 8,000 apple and pear trees, growing into picturesque orchards and a self-sustaining agriculture business, which will bear fruit to produce cider down the track. An ample kitchen garden services the venue with seasonal produce and fields of various hops varietals were planted to supply the brewery.
The venue’s interior features a textural bar face constructed from recycled bricks, topped with a sleek titanium counter, balancing the rustic and refined elements to achieve a contemporary aesthetic.