The New York-based private equity firm Centerbridge Capital Partners is forming a holding company to operate two recently acquired companies: Rock Bottom Restaurants and Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Groups. The new outfit, CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries, will focus on beer-focused, casual dining restaurants, of which it now already controls nearly 200 across the U.S.
Chattanooga, TN (November 15, 2010) – Centerbridge Capital Partners, L.P. and its related entities (“Centerbridge”), formed CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries, Inc. (“CraftWorks”) by closing on concurrent acquisitions of Rock Bottom Restaurants, Inc. (“Rock Bottom”) and Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group, Inc. (“Gordon Biersch”) today. The companies will operate as subsidiaries of CraftWorks and will retain their brands. The combined business becomes the nation’s leading operator and franchisor of brewery and craft beer-focused casual dining restaurants with nearly 200 owned and franchised locations across the United States. CraftWorks’ primary restaurant concepts include Old Chicago, Rock Bottom and Gordon Biersch.
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.
Regarding the formation of CraftWorks, Frank Day stated, “This merger marks a new era for both Rock Bottom and Gordon Biersch and I am thrilled about the growth potential that the future holds for CraftWorks.”
“Gordon Biersch, Old Chicago and Rock Bottom are differentiated casual dining concepts with strong guest loyalty, high energy atmospheres and a high quality offering of craft beer and made-from-scratch food,” stated Jason Mozingo, a Managing Director at Centerbridge. “We are excited by the prospect of partnering with the management teams to strengthen the long-term operating performance of the business and position it for growth.”
Mr. Corey said, “I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the combined company. There is a long-standing relationship between Rock Bottom and Gordon Biersch which will facilitate a smooth and efficient integration of the two businesses. With the help of our new financial sponsor, Centerbridge, we look forward to a successful future as the nation’s leading brewery and craft beer-focused casual dining restaurant operator.”
Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group, Inc was formerly majority owned by Hancock Park Associates. Rock Bottom Restaurants, Inc. was owned by founder Frank Day and his investment group.
Duff & Phelps Securities, LLC, an affiliate of Duff & Phelps LLC (NYSE: DUF), and North Point acted as the exclusive financial advisors to Rock Bottom and Gordon Biersch, respectively, in connection with this transaction. Faegre & Benson and Miller Martin acted as legal advisors to Rock Bottom and Gordon Biersch, respectively.
Centerbridge was advised by Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Duff & Phelps Securities, LLC, also advised CraftWorks on the acquisition of Gordon Biersch. Wells Fargo and GE Capital were joint-lead arrangers for a $150 million credit facility to support the transaction.
There are no plans for re-branding or closing any units at this time.
CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries, Inc., through its three principal operating units, Old Chicago, Gordon Biersch and Rock Bottom, is the nation’s leading operator and franchisor of craft beer-focused casual dining and brewery restaurants with nearly 200 owned and franchised locations across the United States. 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, TN and Louisville, CO. For additional information, please visit www.craftworksrestaurants.com.
About the Brands
Rock Bottom: Polished casual restaurant brewery offering a broad range of unique ales and lagers handcrafted and brewed on-site. Founded in Colorado nearly two decades ago, Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery can now be found in 16 states. Having earned over 125 of the brewing industry’s most esteemed medals and awards, Rock Bottom is known coast to coast for its fresh beer, hospitality and great food.
Gordon Biersch: Upscale casual brewery restaurant specializing in handcrafted German lagers, brewed in-house according to the Reinheitsgebot purity law of 1516. Gordon Biersch features a made-from-scratch American menu with bold international flavors that can be found in 18 states across the country and the District of Columbia.
Old Chicago: Traditional casual dining restaurant specializing in Chicago-style deep-dish pizzas, New York-style thin crust pizzas, pastas, calzones, salads, burgers and sandwiches. The Old Chicago World Beer Tour allows members to taste the best beers from across the globe with 110 craft beer styles including 30 draft choices. Old Chicago operates in 23 states.
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.
Centerbridge Partners was founded in 2005 and commenced business in 2006. With approximately $12 billion in capital under management as of November 1, 2010, the firm invests across multiple strategies, including private equity and credit investments. The firm is dedicated to partnering with world-class management teams to help companies achieve their operating and financial objectives.