Newly formed Craftworks brings beer-and-pizza centric portfolio

Nov. 17, 2010

Earlier this week, private equity firm Hancock Park Associates successfully completed the sale of Gordon Biersch Restaurant Group to Centerbridge Capital Partners.

Centerbridge formed CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries Inc. by closing on concurrent acquisitions of Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group and Rock Bottom Restaurants. The companies will operate as subsidiaries of CraftWorks and will retain their brands.

CraftWorks is led by Frank Day and Allen Corey. Day, founder of Rock Bottom, serves as chairman of the board and brings more than 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 more than 18 years of restaurant experience to the position.

The combined business becomes the nation's leading operator and franchisor of brewery and craft beer-focused casual dining restaurants with nearly 200 company-owned and franchised locations across the United States. CraftWorks' primary concepts will include Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, Old Chicago and Rock Bottom Restaurant Brewery.

Hancock Park Associates, the majority partner of Gordon Biersch, exits the business with the successful completion of sale to Centerbridge. Hancock Park's 2004 investment in Gordon Biersch was made through its $156 million Hancock Park Capital II, L.P.

The investment firm's leadership had only glowing things to say about Gordon Biersch's performance. "Through an unprecedented period of challenge in the restaurant sector, Gordon Biersch has produced industry leading results in terms of all key metrics including same-store sales, EBITDA growth and new unit openings," said Kevin Listen, Hancock Park partner. "Over the course of the partnership, our team doubled EBITDA on 50 percent growth in revenues.  This management team has truly proven themselves as one of the best in the business and we are confident in their continued success with CraftWorks."

Besides the beer-centric casual restaurants, CraftWorks also operates strong regional brands, including ChopHouse and Big River, and maintains intellectual property rights to the Boulder Beer, Inc. microbrewery. The company maintains dual headquarters in Chattanooga, Tenn. and Louisville, Colo.

Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability , Food & Beverage , Franchising & Growth

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