Rock Bottom brewpubs No. 1

Group grows to 31, national mug club launched

May 29, 2002 - The Rock Bottom chain of restaurant-breweries sold more beer than another other brewpub group in 2001, according to the Institute for Brewing Studies annual review of industry statistics.


Rock Bottom Restaurants, Inc. - including Brew Moons, Walnut Brewery and three ChopHouse and Breweries - sold 39,342 barrels of beer, an increase of 13% over 2000. A barrel of beer contains 31 gallons.

Rock Bottom increased its number of brewpubs to 31 nationwide after absorbing four Brew Moon Restaurants in the Northeast, one Hops! Bistro and Brewery in Scottsdale, Ariz. and Cougan's Brewery & Grill in Glendale, Ariz.

Among the larger chains, Rock Bottom brewery-restaurants also sell the most beer per brewpub unit, with each Rock Bottom averaging approximately 1,269 barrels of beer sales in 2001.

"We are both pleased and honored to be recognized as one of the leading operators of brewery restaurants," Ned Lidvall, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Rock Bottom. "Rock Bottom is increasingly committed to offering our guests a dining experience that involves both fine foods and handcrafted, fresh beers. We are fortunate to have some of the most dedicated and passionate brewers in our industry."

According to the IBS, the brewpub industry grew 0.1% from 2000, producing 671,679 barrels, despite the uncertainty after Sept. 11. The brewpub growth seems connected to strong first and second quarters of the calendar year, which offset the difficult third and fourth quarters.

Rock Bottom launched the first nationwide mug club, according to The New Brewer, an IBS publication. Membership is free, and new inductees immediately benefit with a 20-ounce pour for the price of a pint. Members get a magnetic swipe card, which records visits at Rock Bottom locations. Regular customers gradually become eligible for prizes such as glassware, T-shirts and jean jackets.

As of January 2002, membership was more than 16,000 after being in effect at six locations. Rock Bottom had to reorder the plastic membership cards in advance of the national rollout in February due to the huge success of the program.

2001 Top 10 Brewpub Groups
(Measured by total volume of beer sold; not including production-only breweries.)

1. Rock Bottom Restaurants (a)
2. Hops Restaurant, Bar and Brewery
3. Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurants (b)
4. McMenamins Breweries
5. Big Horn Brewery (c)
6. BJ's Restaurant and Brewery
7. Big Buck Brewery and Steakhouse
8. John Harvard's Brewhouse
9. Wynkoop Brewing Co. (d)
10.Pyramid Alehouse

*Excluding non-brewing restaurants
(a) Includes continental Brew Moons, Walnut Brewery and three ChopHouse and Breweries.
(b) Includes Big River Grille & Brewing Works Brewpubs, Rock Bottom
Breweries of Charlotte and Atlanta, A1A Alehouse, Ragtime Tavern and Seven Bridges Grille & Brewery.
(c) Includes C.B. & Potts/Bighorn Brewing Co., Humperdink's/Big Horn Brewing Co. and C.I. Shenanigan's Chophouse & Brewery.
(d) Group includes Phantom Canyon, Upstream.

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