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January 5, 2021

Faces of Fauquier: Server likes farm brewery’s vibe

Photo/Don Del Rosso
“Environmental sustainability is very important to me,” Courtney Miller says.
We have a lot of regulars — kind of like a “Cheers” situation. I just love seeing everyone, getting to talk with my friends while I’m at work.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
The farm brewery bartender has a soft spot for small businesses.

“I love working for them,” explained Courtney Miller, 24, who serves craft beer Thursday through Sunday in the taproom at Powers Farm & Brewery near Casanova. “That’s kind of all I’ve ever done as far as jobs.”

After four years of studying history and French at Virginia Commonwealth University, Ms. Miller returned to Warrenton in August 2019.

The Kettle Run High School graduate applied for dozens of jobs, including bank teller, pharmacy technician and the bartending position at Powers.

With a work history weighted toward the food and hospitality sectors, the farm and brewery opportunity suited her, Ms. Miller said.

In high school and college, she worked at the Great Harvest Bread Co. in Old Town Warrenton and various Richmond restaurants.

“Food and beverage are really comfortable for me,” the Maryland native said. “So I like that we have a lot of regulars” at the brewery, “kind of like a ‘Cheers’ situation. I just love seeing everyone, getting to talk with my friends while I’m at work.”

Ms. Miller also believes in farm and brewery owners Kevin and Melody Powers’ mission.

“Everything that Kevin and Mel do is done with a lot of integrity — like finding creative, nontoxic ways to control pests and barrel-aging certain beers for months to years. I think that’s really cool.”

Ms. Miller added: “Environmental sustainability is very important to me, and they really focus on that.”

Using a community-supported agriculture (CSA) model, the farm and brewery sells “shares” of produce, flowers and beer. A 22-kilowatt solar electricity generating system meets much of its energy demands.

The taproom — closed to table service because of COVID-19 — offers up to 10 kinds of beer that often feature lemongrass, blackberries and squash grown on the farm.

Placing orders in the taproom, patrons can sip at tables outdoors or in a larger adjacent building.

While she remains concerned about possible work-related exposure to COVID-19, “we’re lucky with the amount of outdoor space we have — that we’ve been able to do what we have been doing,” Ms. Miller said. “We really have taken every precaution to be extra safe. It gives us a nice peace of mind.”

Because of her job experience, she someday hopes to start a small business of her own that could be a restaurant or a “vintage” home décor shop.

“I do love to cook and make drinks and all that good stuff . . . . I’ve been enjoying dabbling in refinishing furniture. I really love interior design and old furniture. So I think that maybe that’s something I’d like to do.”

• Age
24

• Home
Warrenton

• Work
Bartender, Powers Farm & Brewery, near Casanova, October 2019 to present.

• Family
Mother, Cathy, 57; brothers Jeff, 28, and Ross, 26.

• Education
Kettle Run High School, 2015; four years at Virginia Commonwealth University.

• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
About 17 years.

• Why do you live here?
After college, I kind of just wanted a break from Richmond. So I just moved back home. I had plans to save up money and move cross country. But then once COVID hit, everything got halted.

And then it kind of registered that things could stay this way for a while. I realized that I actually really do love this area and plan on staying indefinitely. Also, I just really appreciate having friends and family very close to me.

• How do you describe this county?
Really special. We have access to all of the awesome amenities around D.C. and Northern Virginia. But at the same, time it’s very relaxing, safe and it’s a really tight-knit community. It’s definitely a nice change of pace to know people everywhere you go.

• What would you change about Fauquier?
I have to be busy all the time. So I really appreciate a lot to do. I love First Friday (in Old Town Warrenton) and live music and things like that. So I wish we had more events and programs year-round. Of course, with COVID, that’s really hard.

I think it would be cool to have more vendors at the Warrenton Farmers Market, more opportunities — maybe specifically for young people — to socialize that doesn’t just include eating and drinking.

• What do you do for fun?
Collecting and refinishing furniture; play my (electric) guitar and bass. I also really love going into Old Town (Warrenton) and grabbing a drink. That’s how I like to decompress. I like to go on walks through Old Town and down the greenway.

• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
Old Town Warrenton.

• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years?
Fauquier — specifically the Warrenton area — is going to get a lot more developed. But I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I just hope we find a good balance — maybe more stuff to do and having cool resources at hand, but also not being over-crowded.

• Favorite TV show?
“Bob’s Burgers”

• Favorite movie?
“The Graduate”

• Favorite book?
“Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison

• Favorite vacation spot?
Los Angeles

• Favorite food?
Drunken noodles.

• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom?
One of my college friends told me, essentially, if you’re doing something that makes you happy, don’t question it.

That really resonated with me recently, because of moving back (to Fauquier). I think you feel a lot of pressure to live up to those expectations you have of what you should be doing. But if you’re enjoying yourself, there’s really no need to change that.

• Who’s your hero and why?
My mom. She’s just like the hardest-working person I have ever met. She worked full-time and raised three kids as a single mom, and volunteered and was like a scout leader and super-active in the community.

She just managed to always make a good life for us. I just hope that I have that energy and have just such a positive outlook as she does.

• What would you do if you won $5 million in the lottery?
First, buy myself a new car, because my car is 22 years old. I’d like to get some studio apartments in different places around the world and travel. I think that would be really cool — to have a place in France, a place in New York.

Have a suggestion?
Do you know someone who lives in Fauquier County you would like to see in Faces of Fauquier? Email Don Del Rosso at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Lou Emerson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
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Keally00 · January 11, 2021 at 11:24 am
A bunch of thug losers doing nothing but vandalizing, spewing hatred and racism, and deliberately putting our police and other https://vidmate.bet/ law enforcement agents in jeopardy.
badelectronics · January 5, 2021 at 6:51 pm
"Let them get sick and perish, it's on them, no sympathy."

Yes my dear Mark House.
More "DNA changing" vaccine for me! Flush!!!.
Darwin pushed the toilet lever.
Mark House · January 5, 2021 at 4:57 pm
Speaking of Proud Boys - "Those at the microphone praised the lack of masks in the mostly White crowds, saying the demonstrators were exercising their personal freedoms.

“I’m going to give everyone three action steps … turn to the person next to you and give them a hug,” one speaker exhorted the crowd. “Someone you don’t know … it’s a mass-spreader event! It’s a mass-spreader event!”

Masks are required outdoors in the District, but police are not enforcing the mandate this weekend, even as a winter coronavirus surge worsens."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2021/01/05/dc-protest-trump-supporters-election/

Let them get sick and perish, it's on them, no sympathy.
badelectronics · January 5, 2021 at 2:31 pm
do = go.
badelectronics · January 5, 2021 at 2:30 pm
"Compare her to people like Proud Boys..."

I'd rather not do that.
Comparing intelligence to idiot Proud Bois? No.
This woman will do places.
Silii · January 5, 2021 at 2:08 pm
What a refreshing and positive read. Courtney is going to be succesful, actually, she already is. Compare her to people like Proud Boys who appear to be a bunch of thug losers doing nothing but vandalizing, spewing hatred and racism, and deliberately putting our police and other law enforcement agents in jeopardy.
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