New Ownership for The Moon Under Water
I recently heard through the hop bine that Don and Bonnie Bradley had just sold their Victoria brewpub. When I visited The Moon Under Water for the first time on September 7, I learned that, indeed, was the case. I had the pleasure of meeting Clay Potter and Chelsea Walker, the new owners, who were very kind to spend some time with me during a hectic period (lunch before the GCBF’s first day), relating their backgrounds and hopes for the Moon. Having just gotten the keys to the pub, it was a moment when one often experiences the duality of excitement and dread as you venture into new territory.
Even though The Moon Under Water is an operating business, it doesn’t mean taking over will necessarily be any easier than if you started your own brewpub from scratch. The challenge is different. You have a business with a personality that reflects the previous owners. The clientele may have been drawn to that. Then, when a new owner comes along with a different personality, that attraction can wane. This will be Clay and Chelsea’s challenge – not alienate the current customer base while building on the business to ensure long-term stability.
Two areas where you can expect to see some new developments are the beer offerings and events. Clay has brewed locally at Lighthouse, Driftwood, and Turning Point. However, he also had a stint in Germany after getting his brewing degree at Heriot-Watt in Edinburgh. In addition to having guest taps, expect to see him introduce Berliner Weisse, Gose, Dunkelweizen, Imperial Lager, and Imperial Weizen. How exciting it would be to see North America doing for Berliner Weisse and Gose what it did for Witbier.
Unfortunately, The Moon is located in an industrial area of Victoria. While good for the lunch crowd, it’s not the most vibrant neighbourhood in the evening. There needs to be a compelling enough reason to go there with a convenient way to get home afterwards. Drinking English session ales appeals to a certain segment of punter, but really isn’t currently a draw for most people. Hosting events will be a way to attract people and, hopefully, expand the customer base by educating people about craft beer.
With BC’s craft beer boom, I’m noticing a new generation entering the industry – Graham With at Parallel 49, Kevin Emms of Coal Harbour across the street, Firehall Brewery’s Sid Ruhland, Takeshi Guenette at Steamworks… This is a welcome development, as I expect it will inject some youthful energy to continue the growth trend. And with new brewer-owners, like Clay Potter, their passion for the beer will mean we won’t likely see a return to the doldrums of the late nineties and early 2000s when there was little innovation and “bitter” was a dirty word. My best wishes to Clay and Chelsea for the success of their new venture.