The Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority took action this week to help out a local brewery.

The EDA Board of Directors voted at a special meeting Thursday to adopt a resolution to approve a master agreement with Warren County and Backroom Brewery for two grants to help the business grow. Proprietor Billie Clifton runs Backroom Brewery and Sunflower Cottage in the Reliance area of Warren County.

The board took action after meeting in closed session for approximately 90 minutes to discuss the master agreement and other matters. Board members and other EDA officials participated in the meeting remotely via Zoom.

EDA Executive Director Doug Parsons explained by phone Thursday the reason for the agreement.

“Backroom Brewery is a very special business,” Parsons said. “They are Virginia’s first farm brewery.”

The master agreement approved by the EDA board indicates that Backroom Brewery must invest $800,000 in order to start receiving rebates in the form of incentive grants over a 10-year period beginning with the 2020 tax year. The EDA would serve as the pass-through agency to pay grants to Backroom Brewery every other year, the agreement states. Grant amounts will be based on a percentage of the taxes paid by Backroom Brewery on the improvements made through the business’s expansion, according to the agreement. The brewery would receive 80% of the tax paid on the improvements for the first two years. The percentage would decrease over the 10-year period.

Backroom Brewery must remain current with all Warren County taxes and fees to receive the incentive grant.

Backroom Brewery also can receive a tourism grant once the business has five new employees, each of whom are paid twice the minimum wage, and invests at least $25,000 in equipment. The business would receive a $5,000 grant each year for 10 years beginning in 2021.

– Contact Alex Bridges at