CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries
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|Founded||Chattanooga, Tennessee (2010)|
|Dick Rivera, Chairman
Srinivas Kumar CEO
|Owner||Centerbridge Capital Partners|
Number of employees
CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries, Inc. is a multi-brand restaurant operator headquartered in dual offices in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Broomfield, Colorado USA. The company owns several casual dining restaurant chains, most notably Old Chicago, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurants, and Rock Bottom Restaurants Breweries. CraftWorks owns and operates nearly 200 restaurant locations throughout North America, has more than 12,000 employees, and over 70 locations serving beer brewed on-site, making it the largest operator of brewery restaurants.
- 1 History
- 2 Brands
- 2.1 Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom
- 2.2 Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurants
- 2.3 Rock Bottom Restaurant Breweries
- 2.4 Big River Grille & Brewing Works
- 2.5 ChopHouse & Brewery
- 2.6 Sing Sing Dueling Pianos
- 2.7 Bluewater Grille
- 2.8 A1A Aleworks
- 2.9 Ragtime Tavern Seafood & Grill
- 2.10 Seven Bridges Grille & Brewery
- 2.11 Walnut Brewery
- 3 CraftWorks Foundation
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 Further reading
- 7 External links
In 1976 the first Old Chicago taphouse opened in Boulder, Colorado. The first Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant was opened in Palo Alto, California] on July 6, 1988. The first Rock Bottom restaurant opened in Denver, Colorado in 1991. In 1993 Big River Breweries opened its first location in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Rock Bottom Restaurants, Inc., made an initial public offering in 1994. In 1995 the first ChopHouse opened in Denver, Colorado. Big River Breweries opened the only brewpub at Walt Disney World in 1996. A private management buyout took Rock Bottom Restaurants, Inc. private in 1999.  In the same year, Gordon Biersch acquired by Big River Breweries. In 2000, Rock Bottom Restaurants formed the Rock Bottom Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity. Rock Bottom Restaurants laid off about 20% of its corporate staff in 2007 and slowed its growth plans along with ceasing its search for an equity partner. In 2010 a merger was announced to form CraftWorks Restaurants and Breweries, Inc.
Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom
CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries operates 60 restaurants under the name Old Chicago. Franchise partnerships under its Old Chicago brand account for 36 additional locations not owned or operated by CraftWorks. Old Chicago restaurants can be found in 22 states. Old Chicago features a menu centered around its pizza, while also featuring more traditional fare, such as pastas, paninis, salads, burgers, and calzones and sharable appetizers. Each restaurant also carries a wide variety of beer, with around 30 on tap and additional selections in bottles or cans, challenging its patrons to complete its famed World Beer Tour. Beer varieties range from well-recognized national brands, regional and local craft beer and seasonal selection. Patrons can sign up for the World Beer Tour (WBT) at no cost, at which point they receive a card that tracks all of their beers consumed. Upon reaching 110 different beers, the patron gets a plaque with their name, and at most stores a personal quote, hung in their designated "home" Old Chicago location. As an added bonus, WBT members also earn points based on previous purchases that can be traded in for various things such as credit towards a bill on future visits, merchandise, or exclusive parties at Old Chicago locations. Old Chicago also offers seasonal “Mini-Tours”, that feature between eight and 12 seasonal beers. Some examples are the Oktoberfest, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Summer, and Winter Mini-Tours. As a reward for completion, patrons typically receive a themed Mini-Tour T-shirt.
Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurants
Gordon Biersch combines German-style beer and its made-from-scratch cuisine. Featuring German lagers brewed according to the German Purity Law of 1516 (Reinheitsgebot), Gordon Biersch has won numerous gold medals at both the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup. Gordon Biersch offers a made-from-scratch American menu with international flavors. The first Gordon Biersch opened in Palo Alto, California. The company was acquired by Big River Brewing Company in 1999 and later renamed Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group, Inc. In 2016, Gordon Biersch had 32 locations nationwide. The company also reported four locations in Taiwan.
Rock Bottom Restaurant Breweries
The company operates 30 breweries under the name Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery. These breweries are located in several states, with seven restaurants in Colorado, four restaurants in both California and Illinois, two restaurants each in Washington, Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, Arizona and Pennsylvania and one restaurant each in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, Nebraska, and Maryland. Each of these breweries has a menu that features a selection of American-style cuisine including pizza and burgers, steaks, salads and desserts. Each region (and sometimes, each store) has its own selection of beers and beer logos. It is rare to find two beers of the same name or taste in two different stores.
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery is almost identical to the Walnut Brewery concept. In fact, when the first Rock Bottom was being constructed in downtown Denver, it was to be called Walnut Brewery. The store was being built in the bottom of (what was at the time) the Prudential building. The store was renamed Rock Bottom after someone pointed out that they were "building at the bottom of the rock," which was Prudential's slogan at the time. In 2009, the La Jolla location in San Diego won a medal at the Great American Beer Festival, and in 2012 they medaled at the World Beer Cup. Rock Bottom Restaurants won Brewpub Group Brewer of the Year award at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival (GABF).
Big River Grille & Brewing Works
Big River Grille & Brewing Works features handcrafted beer and regional cuisine. The original location in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is located in a historic trolley barn, near the Tennessee River at Ross's Landing. CraftWorks operates additional locations at Disney's BoardWalk Resort in Orlando, Florida and a second location in Chattanooga.
ChopHouse & Brewery
The ChopHouse & Brewery is a more upscale brand that has a diverse menu featuring steaks, chops and seafood. Located in Denver, Cleveland, Washington, D.C., and Boulder, Colorado, each ChopHouse & Brewery is housed in an historic landmark building, conveying a unique character and distinction all its own.
Sing Sing Dueling Pianos
The company operates one store in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania under the name Sing Sing. The store features two pianos on stage with four rotating players for continual music, allowing patrons to listen to classic rock music in a fun environment.
Bluewater Grille is a specialty concept, operating one location in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Its menu features fresh seafood from the Florida coast. It is located next to Big River Grille in downtown Chattanooga.
A1A Aleworks is another specialty concept for CraftWorks, operating one brewpub location in St. Augustine, Florida. The menu has a self-described "New World Cuisine" flare that features a variety of Caribbean, Cuban, and Floridian influences.
Ragtime Tavern Seafood & Grill
Ragtime Tavern Seafood & Grill is located in Atlantic Beach, Florida, near Jacksonville. Beginning in 1983 as a small neighborhood meeting place with only 12 tables and a single bar, Ragtime grew over time and was acquired by CraftWorks. Ragtime Tavern offers three different settings for dining, gathering of friends, or drinking freshly brewed beer.
Seven Bridges Grille & Brewery
Located in the Southside area of Jacksonville, Florida, Seven Bridges is a brewpub serving a variety of seafood, steaks, chicken, salads and pizza. The restaurant features a working brewery, bar, championship billiards and wide-screen television viewing, as well as semi-private dining areas for groups and parties. For cooler periods, it also has an outdoor heated patio.
Located in Boulder, Colorado. Walnut Brewery was opened in 1990 as Boulder's Original Brewpub. Its menu and decor are almost identical to the Rock Bottom Concept. Walnut Brewery is named for the street on which it is located.
The CraftWorks Foundation is the charitable arm of CraftWorks Restaurants and is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization. Dedicated to combating hunger in the communities in which they live and operate restaurants, the foundation provides support through the parent company restaurants to organizations and programs addressing this social issue.
- Brinker International (operator of Chili's)
- Darden Restaurants (operator of Olive Garden)
- OSI Restaurant Partners (operator of Outback Steakhouse)
- "Rock Bottom & Gordon Biersch Merger: Big Brewpub Brands Plan Little Change Aside From Growth". Retrieved 30 June 2016.
- "Gordon Biersch brewer in merger to become CraftWorks". Retrieved 30 June 2016.
- Rabin, Dan. "Colorado Breweries". books.google.ca. Stackpole Books. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
- "Gordon Biersch Closes Original Palo Alto Brewpub". brookstonbeerbulletin.com. Brookston Beer Bulletin. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
- "Big River Breweries, Inc.(R) Announces the Repurchase of its Company Stock from Rock Bottom Restaurants, Inc.(R)". prnewswire.com. PR Newswire Association LLC. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
- Sipos, Ed. "Brewing Arizona: A Century of Beer in the Grand Canyon State". books.google.ca. University of Arizona Press. ISBN 978-0-8165-3047-2. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
- "Rock Bottom Restaurants, Inc. History". fundinguniverse.com. Funding Universe. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
- Smith, Ellis (September 25, 2011). "$11 million HQ move brewing". timesfreepress.com. Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
- "Rock Bottom Launches "Tasting Tuesday" and Hosts Craft Beer Appreciation Events to Celebrate Unique Beer Styles with Guests". prnewswire.com. Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
- "Cost-wary restaurants lay off large numbers (NRN 3.17.08)". groups.google.com. Google. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
- "Gordon Biersch Restaurant and Brewery Locations - Restaurants Nationwide". Retrieved 7 October 2016.
- "Gordon Biersch History". Retrieved 7 October 2016.
- "History of Rock Bottom Restaurants, Inc. – FundingUniverse". Retrieved 30 June 2016.
- Rowe, Peter (September 29, 2009). "Local brewer heads above competition". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
- Rowe, Peter (May 6, 2012). "Local brewers take 16 medals in World Beer Cup". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- "2013 Great American Beer Festival Winners". GABF. Oct 12, 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
- "Specialty Brands". Craftworks Restaurants & Breweries, Inc. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
- "The CraftWorks Foundation". thecraftworksfoundation.org. The CraftWorks Foundation. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
- CraftWorks Restaurants names new CEO. Nations's Restaurant News.