Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mergers & Aquisitions

Frank Day, founder of Rock Bottom Restaurants, will chair the new company's board. (Post file photo )Louisville-based Rock Bottom Restaurants, which operates Rock Bottom Breweries and Old Chicago and The ChopHouse restaurants, and Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group, with one Colorado operation at FlatIron Crossing, have been acquired by Centerbridge Capital Partners LP, a private equity firm.

The new company will be called CraftWorks Restaurants and Breweries as a result of Monday's acquisition. The combined business becomes the nation's leading operator and franchiser of brewery and craft-beer-focused casual dining restaurants, with nearly 200 owned and franchised locations across the U.S.

Rock Bottom founder Frank Day will take over as chairman of the board, and Allen Corey, an original investor and 13-year chief executive of Tennessee-based Gordon Biersch, will be president and chief executive of CraftWorks.

With the new infusion of equity into both brands, plans call for expansion of company- owned and franchise stores throughout the U.S.

Read more: Parker: Rock Bottom gets scooped up - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/pennyparker/ci_16623006#ixzz15T3dmSNW
When mergers hit the craft beer market, I am skeptical as to the outcome.  My basis is the M&A of the National, International, and Regional brands often leaving brands but closing breweries.  Still, the cache of a brewpub is that beer is made on-site, and the new Gordon-Bottom indicates expansion capabilities and infustion of captial as reasons for the merger.  This could translate into more brewing jobs, more breweries, in more locations.  I wonder, though, when they will start squashing the small independent brewers in select markets.  So far, the craft beer movement has been about collaboration...how soon does competition start?  How soon is now?

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