Last night, representatives of CraftWorks Holdings, the Nashville, Tennessee-based corporation that operates the Rock Bottom chain of brewpubs as well as other restaurant brands, including Gordon Biersch, Chop House and Old Chicago, reached out to employees to notify them the company is shuttering ten of its businesses. That dectet includes Rock Bottom’s brewery-equipped restaurant in La Jolla.
Located at 8980 La Jolla Village Drive, across the street from the University of California, San Diego campus, the brewpub opened in 1998. Its beers have garnered scores of awards, including highly coveted medals at the Great American Beer Festival. For over a decade, its beers were crafted by Marty Mendiola, who went on to open Second Chance Beer Co. in Carmel Mountain Ranch in 2015. That move allowed young upstart Carli Smith to make a name for herself at Rock Bottom, followed by Dan Anderson, who served as head brewer the past two years.
“I am incredibly grateful for my time spent with the company,” says Anderson. “I have been able to grow and explore brewing with freedoms that I am aware most brewers don’t get. I have met lifelong friends that have become my family, and have had the most supportive management and mentors I could have asked for. I am incredibly proud of the beers we have produced and thankful I was able to make a small mark in the legacy of this brewery.”
CraftWorks Holdings operates nearly 400 restaurants, brewpubs and entertainment venues in 40 states. Reasons provided to employees for the closure included lack of sufficient revenue generation and lease issues. The company operated a second Rock Bottom location in downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter from 1999 to 2013.
“This was purely a business decision as we continue to focus on other CraftWorks Holdings locations throughout the country,” says the company’s chief marketing officer Josh Kern. “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.”
Rock Bottom’s La Jolla venue is the third brewing operation to close so far in 2020. Two weeks ago, Wyoming-based Melvin Brewing closed its brewpub in San Diego’s East Village and, last week, Papa Marce’s Cerveceria closed the doors to its lease-to-brew suite in Carlsbad’s Brewery Igniter complex. Last July, CraftWorks closed another venerable San Diego brewpub in Gordon Biersch’s Mission Valley location. That facility is on pace to debut under new ownership as Puesto Cerveceria this summer, with longtime Gordon Biersch head brewer Doug Hasker at the helm.