Victoria Brewmaster Triples Sales

Clay Potter, The Moon Under Water Pub & Brewery

Life often takes unexpected twists and turns. A person just needs to be ready to react.

That’s certainly the case for Clay Potter. He knew early in life he wanted to study genetics. Fast forward just a few years, now he’s a respected award-winning brewmaster with a pub of his own and 32 employees.

His mom Ann Farmer does the books, Clay brews the beer. Friends and family help when they can. Together they have he brought a struggling local brewpub in Victoria back from the brink. In two years they have tripled sales at the Moon Under Water beer bar.

He discovered his love of brewing while a student at University of Victoria — and it’s NOT what you think.

“I was studying biochemistry and then I did a co-op at a local brewery, and I loved it. It was the greatest thing,“ says Clay.

After graduation he worked at the brewery for a while then decided to further his education. He applied for the Masters in Science program in brewing and distilling at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland.

It was one of only two schools in the world offering the program at the time, the other one was in Germany. He was accepted.

“I basically learned everything. From brewing to engineering to packaging to promoting, it is a program that teaches you everything about the brewing business.”

Frequent field trips to Germany ignited his love of that country’s beer. He realized he wanted to focus on a made-in-B.C. West coast interpretation of traditional German styles.

When he returned home, Clay brought back vast knowledge of what he learned studying abroad. A detailed understanding of the brewing process enables Clay to grow his business and contribute to the local economy.

“In the beginning it was a lot more work than expected. We were working seven days, 14 – 16 hours a day.”

Turns out his University of Victoria undergraduate science degree is extremely valuable. “A lot of breweries hire microbiologists. I’m able to do my own testing. I know the best ingredients. I know what to look for.”

His Mom takes everything in stride: “he’s extremely bright. I knew whatever he does he’d be great.”

Their pub The Moon Under Water Pub & Brewery hosted a special party for more than 100 guests last December. It was Clay’s wedding party. His 40 kilogram rescue dog was the ring bearer.

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