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September 10, 2018

Altered Suds brewery coming to Warrenton

Photo/Cassandra Brown
Altered Suds Beer Co. partners Casey Ward, Corey Ross and Jason Bergantim in the space they’ve started renovating for an operation that will produce about 1,400 pints a week.
The whole idea with Altered Suds is . . . looking at things that are not mainstream. The music, art, everything will be different than what you would find in other places.
— Casey Ward
Altered Suds Beer Co.
• What: Craft brewery and tasting room focused on small batch hoppy tasting beer.

• Where: 36 Main St.; main entrance between Molly’s Irish Pub and Hartman’s Jewelry; additional entrance off South Second Street.

• Space: About 5,000 square feet.

• Owners: Jason Bergantim of Delaplane, Corey Ross of Warrenton and Casey Ward of Warrenton.

• Investment: $250,000.

• Employees: 6 at brewery; 3 or 4 more in Molly’s kitchen.

• Instagram: Click here

• Website:
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Old Town Warrenton will get its second craft brewery early next year.

The owners of Altered Suds Beer Co. LLC plan to open a 5,000-square-foot brewery at 36 Main St. — in the basement below Molly’s Irish Pub and Hartman’s Jewelers.

“It seemed to be the perfect compliment to one another, the restaurant upstairs and the (brewery) down here,” Molly’s owner Casey Ward said.

Mr. Ward and two partners in the new venture, Corey Ross, 32, of Warrenton, and Jason Bergantim, 32, of Delaplane, started tossing around the idea of opening a brewery together about a year ago.

“I’ve always known I wanted to open a brewery . . . . So, for me it’s everything,” said Mr. Bergantim, who will serve as a master brewer along with Mr. Ross.

The trio will invest $250,000 of their own money to start the business. They also plan to apply for town, county and possibly state grants and business incentives.

In January they formed the company and started renovation of the space, which needed new sprinkler, heating and air conditioning systems, among other improvements.

Experienced brewers, Mr. Ross and Mr. Bergantim work part-time at Old Bust Head Brewing Co. at Vint Hill. Mr. Ross also works at The Farm Brewery at Broad Run.

Mr. Bergantim works full-time as the brew master at Barrel Oak Farm Taphouse near Delaplane and plans to continue doing so.

Altered Suds will attract “beer connoisseurs” and could accommodate 100 patrons, according to the founders.

“People who are serious about beer will come a long way to find it, and we want to be that destination,” Mr. Ward said.

Focusing on “hoppy” beers, the owners hope to produce about 1,400 pints a week or 9,300 gallons a year.

“We would like to have 10 (different beers) on tap at all times,” Mr. Bergantim said. “Our system will be relatively small, so we will try to keep everything super fresh.”

Altered Suds’ first-year revenue should total half-million dollars, according to Mr. Ward.

“There are so many different ways you can alter beer,” Mr. Ross said.

“We are working on an imperial stout with black tea and coco bits . . . unique ingredients but putting our own twist to it,” Mr. Bergantim said. “At this point in the brewing industry, almost everything has been done. So, we are trying to make the best beer we can and make it taste great.”

He believes the brewery will have a “dive-y but classy” atmosphere.

“We want it to be an adult drinking establishment,” Mr. Ward said. “We want a cool scene, with music and art.”

“The whole idea with Altered Suds is . . . looking at things that are not mainstream,” Mr. Ward added. “The music, art, everything will be different than what you would find in other places.”

The brewery will feature a smaller menu of food from the Molly’s Irish Pub kitchen upstairs.

“It made sense to do it this way, because you can’t open a brewery in a commercial district without having a kitchen attached to it,” Mr. Ward said.

Once the brewery gets established, Mr. Ward will continue to focus on Molly’s, while Mr. Ross and Mr. Bergantim oversee Altered Suds.

The owners plan to hire four brewery employees, including a manager who will oversee the tasting room. Mr. Ward may hire three to four more kitchen employees at Molly’s.

They have yet to establish the new brewery’s operating hours.

“It would add to the offerings we would have on a weekday or weekend . . . a hangout spot that can bring people in and make Old Town — a destination place,” said Warrenton’s Economic Development Manager Tom Wisemiller.

Fauquier County has five craft breweries: Barrel Oak, Old Bust Head, Powers Farm Brewery near Casanova and Wort Hog Brewery in Warrenton.

Warrenton’s first brewery, Wort Hog opened in 2017 after its owners invested about $2.5 million in the project, including major renovation and expansion of a former garage.

Last year, more than 200 licensed breweries called Virginia home.

About 190 of those qualify as craft breweries — small, independent operations, using generally traditional ingredients, according to the Brewers Association. Since 2011, the number of craft breweries in Virginia has grown by 375 percent.

Nationwide, more than 6,000 breweries operated in 2017.

Competition and overexpansion may have been contributing factors when San Diego-based Green Flash Brewing Co. opened a Virginia Beach brewery in 2016 and closed 16 months later.

But, the owners of Altered Suds plan to keep their business plan simple by selling beer only on site in pints, growlers and eventually, cans.

“We’re not going to try and sell our beer in four different states,” Mr. Bergantim said. “Our focus is the local community.”

Hopeful about craft beer industry, the Altered Suds owners have taken on “the more, the merrier” viewpoint.

Comparing the influx of breweries with Fauquier’s well-established winery business, Mr. Ward said, “Having so many in an area means not necessarily competing with one another so much as drawing more people in as a whole.

“Warrenton’s on the cusp of really turning into a fun place to be,” Mr. Ward said. “It helps having another brewery. The more the merrier. They can feed off each other and make Warrenton a destination.”

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Amelia Stansell · September 10, 2018 at 1:54 pm
This is another great win for Old Town Warrenton - truly a place to come discover and Experience! Cheers to the trio and I wish you much success!
brandonj · September 10, 2018 at 1:32 pm
Best of luck to these gents. It would be nice to see Fauquier develop a brewery scene to rival that of Loudon. I'd like to see more restaurants carry local brews and incorporate locally produced grain, hops, and adjuncts.
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