Craftworks (Old Chicago, Rock Bottom, ChopHouse, Gordon Biersch) Terminates Entire Workforce

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Todd, Apr 1, 2020.

  1. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,044) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    This impacts over 18,000 employees, at over 338 locations, across 39 states.
    • Old Chicago
    • Logan's Roadhouse
    • Gordon Biersch
    • Rock Bottom
    • Big River Grille
    • ChopHouse & Brewery
    • A1A Ale Works
    • Ragtime Tavern
    • Seven Bridge Grille & Brewery
    • The Big Bang at Sing Sing
  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,542) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania


    Laying off 18,000 people and without health benefits is a BIG deal.

    I feel bad for the people affected.

  3. eppCOS

    eppCOS Meyvn (1,385) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado

    Wow this is gonna hurt.
    Apart from Instacart, Amazon, and grocery stores -- can't think of part of the economy that won't be affected by this. Jeez...
  4. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (2,101) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    Sadly announcements such as this will become more and more common over the upcoming months. On top of the virus and all that it brings folks will be hurting bad and out of work.
    ChicagoJ and VoxRationis like this.
  5. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,683) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    This SUCKS. Old Chicago is one of those places where you can count on finding good beer no matter where you are. At least in my neighborhood they're packed from open until close 7 days a week. I've been to some of the best beer bars on the planet, but the place I frequent the most is the OC. While not quite the same sort of impact, I'll also miss the Chophouse and (oft-forgotten Denver beer pioneer), Rock Bottom. That's a lot of people losing jobs and a lot of fond memories, too.
  6. JrGtr

    JrGtr Devotee (429) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    Is this a question of them being permanently laid off, or with the hope, if not expectation of being brought back once everything is … I won't say back to normal - I don't think what we've known as 'normal' will ever apply again.
    Depending on a lot of things, they may have had to do this to allow the employees to file for unemployment claims. It does stink royally for everyone involved of course.
  7. Reneejane

    Reneejane Devotee (450) Jan 15, 2004 Illinois

    My heart goes out to those employees. I’ve had some great beers brewed there.
    AZBeerDude72 and VoxRationis like this.
  8. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,831) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Yes, they will become more common. However, Craftworks had previously filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, so this isn't entirely a result of the pandemic closure orders. They were on thin ice before this.
  9. beersampler6

    beersampler6 Poo-Bah (1,786) Apr 4, 2018 Michigan
    Society Trader

    Ugh this is terrible. And here I was thinking only the smaller breweries and mom-and-pop, local, non-chain places would go under.
  10. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,200) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    Holy crap!!
    I have so many friends at our Old Chicago. My heart goes out to them.
    ManBearPat and woodychandler like this.
  11. thesherrybomber

    thesherrybomber Disciple (398) Jun 13, 2017 California
    Society Trader

    jzlyo, meanmutt and Bitterbill like this.
  12. honkey

    honkey Disciple (319) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona
    Brewery Trader

    You talking about the people that created the Coronavirus? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
  13. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,200) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    1 wonder if they could have gotten debt forgiveness loans for keeping their staffs intact.

    Probably not...
  14. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,200) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    Some people.

    I posted this news on our Beer News Facebook page and here's what one person posted:

    "Certainly hope they are able to come back. I still have almost $75 worth of gift cards I bought at Sam's"

    meanmutt and denver10 like this.
  15. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,200) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    Good news for our local Old Chicago:

    "JRG the owner of the Casper store is separate from the others. It is not owned by Rock bottom"
  16. CASK1

    CASK1 Disciple (301) Jan 7, 2010 Florida

    Seven Bridges in JAX is a regular beer hangout and a key supporter of my homebrew club. Major loss.
    Redrover likes this.
  17. Giantspace

    Giantspace Champion (805) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Did not really think about this till that post.

    I have hundreds of $ in gift certs at Monks and Earth Bread and $150 at Iron hill( might be able to get curbside there still). Sure I would love to use them but I’m much more concerned that these places can’t come back from this. I have had so many amazing times at Monks and Earth and there are so many good folk working there. Earth supports the local community with jobs and more plus they are an amazing local spot I would hate to see go away.

    I would gladly give up the gift certs to see these places and many other spots survive and things get close to the way they were.

    Stay smart Be safe

    imagingh and Bitterbill like this.
  18. woodychandler

    woodychandler Poo-Bah (11,176) Apr 9, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    I am wearing my Old CHI Beer Dept. ball cap in solidarity with all of those people suddenly out of work & without health benefits. I have been a supporter of Old CHI for a while since I was first turned onto them during my 2006 visit to Omaha, NE. I made it onto the Wall of Foam at their Madison, WI location before it closed. The ex-Old Lady & I went to several of their trivia nights in Thornton, CO. I am going to miss being able to go into one if/when I am able to travel again. 8=(
    Bitterbill likes this.
  19. iebforever

    iebforever Initiate (75) Jan 19, 2009 California

    Agree that the title of the article is misleading. Being "terminated" means you lost your job and are welcome to reapply should the enterprise reopen. Being "laid off" means that you are temporarily without a job and will be brought back when there is enough business to warrant it.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  20. southdenverhoo

    southdenverhoo Disciple (397) Aug 13, 2004 Colorado

    I too have thousands of hours logged into Old Chicago, principally the one on South Colorado Blvd in Denver. Good friends, some with children, are out of work. Re "layoff" vs "termination" see this line from the Company's memo (not the reporter's phrase, in other words):

    "In addition, effective March 31, 2020, the status of all team members will be revised from furloughed to terminated."
  21. ChangSing

    ChangSing Initiate (164) May 5, 2013 Illinois

    Rock Bottom in Lomnard and Warreville, IL was my first OG beer sport 15+ years ago. There were no taprooms to get fresh craft beer at that time. I met some really cool people over the years there. I always enjoyed their beer, and the ballpark pretzels were incredible. Hopefully many of the employees have some savings to weather the storm and land on their feet in a couple months.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  22. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,044) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    The word appears here as it did in the referenced article. And then there's specific use of the word in the letter to employees:
    ChicagoJ and Bitterbill like this.
  23. dele

    dele Initiate (66) Mar 13, 2019 Massachusetts

    Maybe tying people's ability to access health care to their employment wasn't such a good idea after all.
  24. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,831) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    The history of that benefit is interesting. Without looking it up again, IIRC it came about as a reaction to wage controls during WWII. IOW, a way to increase compensation without increasing wages. Prior to that, everyone paid for their own health care / insurance.
    ChicagoJ, Bitterbill, dele and 3 others like this.
  25. ManBearPat

    ManBearPat Devotee (488) Dec 2, 2014 Colorado

    I’ll be surprised if the fat cats that own these places don’t hire much of the staff back... at considerably lower wage rates.

    Greed is gonna start showing up big time as this goes on...
    meanmutt and Bitterbill like this.
  26. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,831) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Already has... several states AGs are pursuing price gouging charges, some against individuals, some against companies.
    Bitterbill and ManBearPat like this.
  27. ManBearPat

    ManBearPat Devotee (488) Dec 2, 2014 Colorado

    Just wait until the bailouts for these too big to fail types of companies and the massive bonuses that the ceos will magically deserve... hope its not as bad as the last time around
    meanmutt and Bitterbill like this.
  28. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (2,136) Sep 15, 2014 New York

    Damn. That's really bad.
  29. southdenverhoo

    southdenverhoo Disciple (397) Aug 13, 2004 Colorado

    An earlier Brewbound article at the time of the Chapter 11 filing said there are 77 franchise operations. I don't know where they are, other than the one you just mentioned. Pretty sure all the Colorado ones I've been to are company-owned and operated.
    Bitterbill likes this.