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More breweries, distillery plan to open in Prince William

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In the next few months, a brewery and a distillery will open their doors in Prince William County.

Growling Bear Brewery

The microbrewery, Growling Bear Brewery, will be located at 14051 Crown Court in Woodbridge. The owners plan to open in the beginning of July.

According to the brewery owner, Mike Blivens, the idea to open the brewery came from his own experience with brewing at home.

“I’ve been a home brewer since 1998. I kind of got sick of my corporate job and figured I was going to go into something where I would enjoy going into work that I have a passion for,” said Blivens.

Growling Bear will offer 12 craft beers that are made on site, using equipment shipped over from Germany.

Blivens said that they plan to offer 4 core beers that they carry year round, 4 seasonal beers and 4 experimental beers.

“We are going to specialize in dark beers, and try to have at least four dark beers on tap all year long. A lot of breweries don’t do that for some reason – people stay away from dark beers until wintertime. But we tend to see that a little differently,” commented Blivens.

The brewery will offer a small menu, and they will be looking to have different food trucks come to the site during the weekends for customers looking to have some food with their beverages.

MurLarkey Distilled Spirits

On 7961 Gainsford Court in Bristow, co-owner Tom Murray is opening MurLarkey Distilled Spirits that will open its doors this month.

The distillery is located in the former Ferguson Electric building just off Wellington Road.

For Murray, the thought of opening up a local distillery was one that he had for a long time.

“I’m a former technology executive. My cousin and I founded the company [for the distillery] in 2013…it’s something that we’ve always been interested in…and it’s something we’ve been considering for a while,” said Murray.

At the distillery, they will be making hand-crafted vodka, as well as three varieties of infused whiskeys.

“We are using some traditional recipes that our grandparents brought over from Ireland,” Murray said.

Murray stated that while there is currently no ability to serve food, they would be working to do so in the future. There will also be a tasting area and special events on site.

More on the way 

Growling Bear Brewery will encompass 2,150 square feet of space inside the Prince William Commons business park near BJs wholesale club.

Mularkey Distilled Spirits will have 4,322 square feet of space when it opens.

In Woodbridge, county records show a Hard Times Café located in the Potomac Festival shopping center across from Potomac Mills mall applied for county permits to become Ornery Beer Company Public House. That’s a change from its usual fare of chili macs and billiards.

The new breweries and distilleries join similar businesses in Manassas that opened their doors for the first time or expanded their operation. BadWolf Brewery chose to expand in Manassas after Prince William County officials halted a possible expansion at the Tackett’s Mill Center in Lake Ridge due to rules on still on the books last fall.

County officials later changed their rules to allow craft breweries and distilleries to open in popular shopping centers.

KO Distillery in Manassas held its ribbon cutting this past winter, and several new breweries opened in Stafford County, too.

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