Rock Bottom and Gordon Biersch to Merge

Jay Brooks broke some fascinating slash disturbing news this morning: Rock Bottom and Gordon Biersch were purchased by Centerbridge Capital Partners. The resulting company, which will include Rock Bottom-owned Old Chicago, will be called CraftWorks. From the press release:
CraftWorks is led by Frank Day and Allen Corey. Frank Day, founder of Rock Bottom, serves as Chairman of the Board and brings over 45 years of restaurant experience to the newly formed company. Allen Corey, an original investor and 13 year CEO of Gordon Biersch, is the President and CEO of CraftWorks and brings over 18 years of restaurant experience to the position....

In addition to these three core brands, CraftWorks also operates a variety of specialty concepts including A1A Ale Works, Big River Grille and Brewing Works, Bluewater Grille, ChopHouse & Brewery, Ragtime Tavern, Seven Bridges Grille & Brewery and The Walnut Brewery.
I shot an email to Van Havig, brewer at the Portland Rock Bottom, to find out if he had any comment. Things are still too early to know too much--and his comments were general and hopeful. Apparently the individual breweries will retain their identities--they're not all becoming CraftWorks.

Color me a little concerned. One of the great virtues of Rock Bottom was the freedom it granted Van. He was responsible for brewing their regular line-up, but he also got to brew the kind of beers local Portlanders admire. Rock Bottom has been active in the Oregon Brewers Guild, and Van is the Treasurer and a former president. Let's hope the new ownership recognizes the value of these things--especially in a city with 36 breweries.

I'll comment more when I have more info.
Jeff AlworthNews10 Comments