USA: Dan Gordon regains control of Gordon Biersch Brewing

Dan Gordon, co-founder of Gordon Biersch Brewing Company, one of the pioneers of the US craft beer industry, has regained majority control of his company after 24 years. A group of investors around Gordon, which he describes as “close-knit friends who have been very successful in life” has acquired the San Jose, California-based production brewery. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Seller was the Fertitta family, which bought a 51 percent in Gordon Biersch through their company Fertitta Enterprises in 1995 in a deal valued at about USD 20 million at that time.

In 1988, Dan Gordon, the first American in more than 40 years to graduate from the prestigious five-year brewing program at the world-renowned Technical University of Munich in Weihenstephan, Germany, and Dean Biersch, an experienced restaurateur and beer lover, opened their first Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant in Palo Alto in 1988.

In a time when the term craft beer was not yet invented, the two founders grew rapidly their business through opening several Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurants, first in California and later also in other parts of the United States. Through the sale of a majority stake in the business, Dan Gordon was able to fulfill his dream of building a state-of-the-art full-size brewery and bottling facility in San Jose, CA, which was opened in 1997.

In 1999, the Gordon-Biersch brewpubs, which number today 35, were sold to what is now Craftworks Holdings, which also operates the Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom and Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery chains. They are still operating independently and are not part of the recent deal.

Since 1998, Gordon Biersch Brewing Company has more than doubled its production to 90,000-barrels (105,000 hl) beer in 1998, making Gordon Biersch Brewing Company the largest brewery in the San Francisco Bay Area and one of the fifty largest breweries in the United States.

Dan Gordon, who still oversees the brewing operations at the Gordon Biersch brewing and bottling facility in San Jose, CA, is a specialist in brewing authentic German-style lagers in strict adherence to the German Beer Purity Law. Next to his signature beers, which are sold all over the United States, he also acts as a contract brewer for other companies. About 90 percent of his capacity is dedicated to contract brewing.

With the addition of a new Krones canning line, which is expected to be operational by November, and the addition of new contract partners, Gordon hopes to increase production by 15 to 20 percent in 2019.

Share this article: