Craftworks Holdings Closes Several Gordon Biersch and Rock Bottom Locations

Craftworks Holdings has shuttered a number of Gordon Biersch and Rock Bottom Brewery locations in recent weeks.

On Sunday, the Nashville, Tennessee-headquartered operator and franchisor closed Gordon Biersch locations in Syracuse, New York; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Rockville and Baltimore, Maryland; and the Navy Yard neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

Additionally, West Coaster reported that Craftworks shuttered the Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery location in La Jolla, California.

All of those locations have been scrubbed from the Gordon Biersch and Rock Bottom websites.

In a statement shared with Brewbound, Craftworks Holdings chief experience officer Josh Kern called the move “purely a business decision as we continue to focus on other Craftworks Holdings locations throughout the country.”

“It’s never easy to close restaurants,” Kern said in the statement, which was identical to those issued after closing restaurants in other cities. “We appreciate our teams and raving fans of our brands. We continue to be optimistic about the future [of] our brands and are pleased with recent progress made on several growth initiatives that we believe should have a meaningful impact on our businesses.”

Kern did not respond to follow-up questions by email and phone asking how many locations were shuttered.

An “About Craftworks” boilerplate shared by Kern said Craftworks operates more than 390 restaurants and breweries in 40 states and Washington, D.C. In addition to Rock Bottom and Gordon Biersch, Craftworks’ operates the Logan’s Roadhouse and Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom chains, as well as speciality restaurants Chophouse, Big River Grill, AIA Ale Works, Ragtime Tavern & Seafood Grill, Seven Bridges Grill & Brewery and Sing-Sing.

Sunday’s closures are just a few in a string of recently shuttered Craftworks outposts, including Old Chicago locations Dallas and Cedar Hill, Texas, and Boise, Idaho; Gordon Biersch restaurants in Gilbert, Westgate and Phoenix, Arizona, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Buffalo, New York; and a Logan’s RoadHouse in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Last October, Craftworks closed a Rock Bottom restaurant after more than two decades in Portland, Oregon. In May, the company shuttered a Gordon Biersch in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood.

According to the Gordon Biersch website, Craftworks still operates 10 Gordon Biersch locations. Those include Burbank, California; Broomfield, Colorado; Louisville, Kentucky; New Orleans, Louisiana; Annapolis, Maryland; Las Vegas, Nevada; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Tyson Corner, Virginia; and airport outposts in Atlanta, Georgia, and Salt Lake City, Utah.

Meanwhile, the Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery website lists 23 locations in operation in California (Long Beach and San Jose), Colorado (Centennial, Colorado Springs, Denver, Highlands Ranch, Loveland, Westminster), Florida (Daytona Beach), Illinois (Bolingbrook, Chicago, Orland Park, Warrenville, Yorktown), Indiana (Indianapolis), Maryland (Bethesda), Massachusetts (Boston), Minnesota (Minneapolis), Ohio (Cincinnati), Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh), Tennessee (Nashville), Virginia (Richmond) and Wisconsin (Milwaukee).

The struggles of the corporately owned brewpub chain come as thousands of small and local craft breweries have opened their doors in recent years, meeting consumer demand for local brewery options.

Brewers Association chief economist Bart Watson, citing preliminary figures, recently estimated that about 3.5 million barrels of beer was sold directly to consumers at brewery taprooms and tasting rooms in 2019, which he called “fairly strong” growth from the 3.1 million barrels of at-the-brewery sales in 2018.

Craftworks Holdings formed in late 2018 after Craftworks Restaurants and Breweries acquired the Logan’s chain.

The Gordon Biersch brewpub chain is unrelated to Gordon Biersch Brewing Company, which co-founder Dan Gordon regained majority control over the San Jose, California-based production brewery in 2019 from the Fertitta family — founders of Nevada’s Station Casinos and Zuffa, the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

That operation is mostly focused on contract production for other producers.

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