Lorton-based brewery aims for Memorial Day opening


Bunnyman co-founder and co-owner Sam Gray outside the future brewery and cafe at the Workhouse Campus in Lorton

Buildout of the new Bunnyman Brewing and Cafe has gotten underway at building W13 at the Workhouse Campus in Lorton, and one of the venue’s owners is cautiously optimistic that it will open before the busy summer season — even if it’s a soft launch during Memorial Day weekend.

Sam Gray, co-founder and co-owner of the original Fairfax-based location of Bunnyman Brewing, said that despite some initial delays coordinating work activities with a few county offices, contractors recently received the go-ahead to start interior construction at the site, thanks to extra efforts made by county leaders.

Gray credited County Executive Bryan Hill, Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity, Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck, the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and Fairfax County Land Development Services for providing “amazing help,” and he singled out Storck’s chief of staff Christine Morin as being “absolutely incredible.”

During a recent tour of the historic building, Gray pointed out the spaces where future distillery equipment and customer amenities will be implemented. Downstairs will be the kitchen, cold room and brewing equipment, covered with a glass wall so visitors can watch the brewing process. Upstairs will be an office and storage space, a tap wall, pod-style open seating and unisex restrooms.

Ongoing buildout of Bunnyman's facilities at Building W13 at the Workhouse Campus

Bunnyman’s owners plan to decorate the interior with historic artifacts from the Lorton prison and potentially some artwork from current Workhouse tenants.

Outside the building’s brick walls, there are a few additional initiatives Gray is avidly pursuing. One is a joint Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) license with the Workhouse, so customers can eventually stroll around the entire campus with their beverages. At present, Bunnyman’s ABC license only extends halfway across the walkway connecting building W13 with its twin facility. That renovated building, W15, is still actively being marketed to prospective food and beverage tenants, said Gray.

Another key item on his wish list is a charging station for electric vehicles (EV) in the parking lot.

“I’ve been suggesting to everyone that will listen that our parking lot would be an amazing spot for an EV charging station,” said Gray, who himself drives an electric vehicle. “I believe everyone would benefit, and commuters could take some time to check out the awesome artwork at the Workhouse Arts area and have a snack at Bunnyman to make it an easy charge.”

Bunnyman will be making an environmental impact in other ways. All grains processed at the brewery will be recycled and donated to local farmers to feed their livestock, said Gray, and the restrooms will feature waterless urinals, which save both water and energy.

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