Grab a beer, and then head next door to your neighborhood grocery store.
That’s the concept behind Water’s End Brewery, a new brewery that will be opening in Lake Ridge at the Dillingham Square shopping center this summer.
Water’s End, inspired by the Native American translation of the word Occoquan, meaning ‘at the end of the water’, is a dream come true for three longtime friends – Josh Fournelle, Zach Mote, and Ryan Sharkey.
Mote, who is currently a homebrewer and Fairfax County police officer, had the original idea to open the brewery back in 2014.
“I was inspired to open the brewery after a visit to Bad Wolf [brewery]. I started business planning basically after my second visit there. I’ve always wanted to run my own [business] and work with my friends. I’ve been brewing for a while. The motivation was being our own bosses, and to work as friends as part of a team,” Mote said.
Fournelle, who works in IT, and Sharkey, who works as an operations manager in safety compliance, both said that they were inspired by their own family members that ran businesses, and the freedom that business ownership would give them.
“I’ve been pretty eyes wide open to just the amount of work…but I see that it pays off,” said Fournelle.
“It’s something I’ve always been drawn to. I was born in a very small town…my grandfather owned a company in that town,” said Sharkey.
Several breweries have popped up in Prince William over the past few years, as the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation to allow breweries to sell their products on-site, and Prince William County lifted the restrictions on breweries in retail spaces.
“I was paying close attention to [that],” said Mote.
And while this created a great opportunity for Water’s End, it also means that they need to do everything they can to maintain a competitive advantage.
“One of the things we feel we’re going to have to focus on, to make sure that we’re making customers happy – because they have so much choice – is constant variety. And we’re going to solicit as much feedback and input from our customers as we can,” said Mote.
Sharkey, Fournelle, and Mote think that while having a brewery in a shopping center is very different, the concept is something they think will be of value to Prince William residents.
Fournelle said that it would give Water’s End customers the opportunity to run and grab a beer while out running errands, or for parents dropping of their child at dance or gymnastics lessons at Dillingham Square.
“It’s a very new concept to put a brewery in a shopping center. You’ll see the brewpubs, but without the food, you don’t see it…usually you have to go drive out to where the beer is made, but now you can swing by, [order some food], and basically drive across the street from your neighborhood, and come to a brewery,” said Mote.
The three have decided not to serve food at Water’s End, but will offer lots of snacks.
According to Mote, they’ve already established their grand opening beer lineup. For their opening, Water’s End will offer a White IPA, a light and clean ‘Damn Beer’, a Belgian-style wheat ale with citrus zest and honey, a very hoppy and strong American Black Ale, and one yet to be determined beer that will be selected by customer’s votes.
Mote said that there will be a large bar area, a gaming area, and that the highlight of the brewery will be the brewing equipment, which will be on display behind sliding glass doors.
Water’s End Brewery is set to open sometime in July.