When BadWolf Brewing Company opened their doors at Center Street in June 2013, they were the first brewery in Manassas and Prince William County. Thanks to robust customer demand, they quickly expanded and in August 2015 opened a second location at Kao Circle. But today, the brewing landscape is vastly different from what it once was, prompting the family-owned company to make the decision to close their Kao Circle location on April 29 and return to their roots.
“We just had so much going on and I guess we really realized family should be first,” says Co-Founder Sarah Meyers. She and her husband, Jeremy, own and operate the business, and they welcomed a baby in October. “We were spending all of our time between the two breweries.”
BadWolf’s small, original location on Center Street started out with a focus on experimental beers and eventually became the Phunk House, pouring all sour beers. Their much larger location, the BrewHouse at Kao Circle, had been producing flagship beers as well as experimental recipes in a 10-barrel system.
In the years after BadWolf opened, more and more breweries joined the scene and competition unsurprisingly increased. “It was kind of an obvious choice,” Sarah said of closing the BrewHouse. “The large location was just sucking all of our resources away…The small location’s been paying for itself.”
With just one location, the Meyers are looking forward to reconnecting with their customers.
“I think a lot of people were kind of not so happy when we went larger, because they felt like it was too kind of corporate. We always had a family, community feel in that tiny little space,” Sarah says. “It’ll bring us back to being back in touch with the customers better, so then they can have a better experience.”
There will be a few changes at the Center Street location, however. “You’re going to see a mix of clean beers and sours. Probably three and three on the six taps there,” Sarah says. “In the future, we hope to get 10 taps over there at some point and actually upgrade that system to a two-barrel from the one-barrel.”
They will focus almost exclusively on taproom sales, with the occasional bottle release. “We might do small distribution,” Sarah says. “You might see some one-offs.”
As of now, the fate of the 6,000-square-foot facility at Kao Circle is up in the air.
“We’ve had three potential big buyers look at the space,” Sarah says. “I think we are going to see an offer shortly.”
On the BrewHouse’s last day of operation, the BadWolf team is inviting the community over for a party from 1-6 p.m. “The goal is we have to get rid of that beer,” Sarah says.
Looking ahead, the Meyers are considering their options. “Maybe there’s a future, something else happening in the horizon, we just haven’t quite figured it out,” Sarah says. Until then, “see everybody at Center Street.” // BadWolf Brewing Company: 9776 Center St., Manassas