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February 29, 2016

Governor brings $600,000 loan for Old Town brewery

Warrenton has been aggressive in demonstrating its commitment to our vision. When we began considering the area for our brewery, town and county officials stepped up to help us investigate potential sites. When it was clear our initial site wasn’t going to work, they were able to show us alternate properties the same day, including what will now be our brewery.
— Matt Lutz, Wort Hog co-owner
Wort Hog Brewing
• What: New company that plans microbrewery and pub.

• Where: 56 E. Lee St. and 50 S. Third St., Warrenton.

• Owners: Matt Lutz of Nokesville, Cris Bezek of Great Falls and Louis Oliva of Ijamsville, Md.

• Opening: Early fall 2016.

• Investment: Estimate up to $2.4 million.

• Website:
Gov. Terry McAuliffe visited Warrenton on Monday afternoon to announce a $600,000 loan for construction of Wort Hog Brewing Co.’s microbrewery in Old Town.

Warrenton and Wort Hog teamed up to secure the low-interest loan from Virginia’s Industrial Revitalization Fund program, which backs redevelopment projects aligned with local economic development goals.

The low-cost loan, directly from the commonwealth to Wort Hog, will jump-start the brewer’s plans to turn a one-block section along Lee St. into a brewery and pub.

“Small business growth is critical as we work to diversify and build a new Virginia economy, and viable small business strategies will help bring new investment and job creation to the commonwealth,” Gov. McAuliffe told local government and business leaders at the John Barton Payne Community Hall. “The redevelopment of properties like this is key to the revitalization of historic downtown areas and helping the region to attract businesses and visitors.”

Warrenton Mayor Powell Duggan said, “This is going to help continue to revitalize Old Town Warrenton. We already have great restaurants and shops, and this is going to bring more of them. We’re very excited to have Wort Hog here. These types of projects are what we want to see in making Warrenton the place to be.”

Board of supervisors Chairman Chris Granger (Center District) lauded the cooperation between town and county staff in landing Wort Hog.

“The county works jointly with the Town of Warrenton to help lift the entire region as a whole,” Mr. Granger said. “Wort Hog choosing Warrenton isn’t just a win for the town; it’s a major coup for Fauquier County.”

Wort Hog co-owners Cris Bezdek, Matt Lutz and Louis Oliva cited the town’s commitment as a major driver in its site decision and landing the IRF funding.

“Warrenton has been aggressive in demonstrating its commitment to our vision,” Mr. Lutz said. “When we began considering the area for our brewery, town and county officials stepped up to help us investigate potential sites. When it was clear our initial site wasn’t going to work, they were able to show us alternate properties the same day, including what will now be our brewery.”

Mr. Bezdek agreed: “Town staff left little doubt that they wanted us in Warrenton, and that they would work tirelessly to help us get started, and help us grow.

“The IRF loan will help us get to where we want to be even sooner than planned, and we couldn’t have landed it without the town’s support.”

Wort Hog’s plans include converting two buildings spanning a small block in Old Town into a brewery and pub. The owners in January bought the property for $1 million. They plan to invest $1.4 million in renovations over the next several years.

Phase One will remodel a former auto garage on Beckham Street as a brew house by August or September.

With planned outdoor seating, the brewery will accommodate about 190 customers at a time, according to the owners.

Early next year, Fauquier Bridges should complete its long-planned move to a new facility. Wort Hog then will start Phase Two, expanding into the former car dealership building that currently houses Fauquier Bridges, a center for mentally handicapped adults. The renovations will include a kitchen to support food service, an area for live music performances and expanded seating.

“Landing Wort Hog and partnering with them to secure the IRF funding demonstrates the town’s commitment to economic development in a way that attracts tourism and new business while enhancing the community’s vibrancy,” Warrenton Economic Development Manager Heather Stinson said. “This project is a huge win for Old Town Warrenton, as we welcome yet another prime attraction to the town’s already appealing lineup of unique and successful businesses.”

The town council last fall agreed to waive up to $50,000 in water/sewer connection fees and related permits as an incentive for the brewery
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BJ · February 29, 2016 at 8:50 pm
@robbinnhoodd - you are correct! Finding a place to park to go to Claire's is hard enough, and it's a no-no to park in the church parking lot, so where are these 190 people going to park?
robbinnhoodd · February 29, 2016 at 2:36 pm
So if I drive in to town, where am I supposed to park around there? You realize there is no parking, right? Does anyone have a plan for this?
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