Granite City Food & Brewery Ltd. announced a relaunch of the brand with a return to its craft beer roots. The move positions Granite City to reestablish its leadership role in the growing craft beer community. Chief Executive Officer Richard H. Lynch (Dick), has been here before. He returned Popeyes to its Louisiana heritage and the company and its investors saw leaps in same stores sales, AUV, number of units, profitability, and it ultimately sold at a historic multiple. Now Mr. Lynch has turned his sights on craft beer, and sees a similar opportunity in Granite City Food and Brewery. He will return the company to its heritage as a leader in the craft brewing industry and drive that forward, in turn growing the business, increasing profitability, and expanding the community of craft beer fans.

Lynch has assembled a world-class management team comprised of industry experts in brewing, operations and marketing to drive and implement Granite City’s new brand purpose—Build and Foster a Community of Craft Beer Fans for Life. He has also appointed longtime employee RJ Nab as VP-Brewmaster to craft Granite City’s calendar of seasonal beer offerings, which will serve as the inspiration for future menu items, a key to Lynch’s brand strategy.

“All great brands have a clearly articulated purpose that drives the company strategy and the brand’s success. Granite City will exemplify that approach,” said Lynch. “When I looked at the Granite City opportunity, it became apparent to me that the purpose already existed, it just needed to be unleashed. With the brand purpose in place, Granite City is effectively reclaiming its craft beer heritage and planting its flag in the craft beer community.”

“Granite City was one of the first craft breweries in many of the markets in which we currently operate,” says RJ Nab, VP-brewmaster for Granite City. “Like all craft breweries, we brew our beer on site, and as we know, fresh beer just tastes better.”

To bring the brand purpose to life, Lynch has:

  • Implemented a strategic roadmap to ensure accountability, focus, and positive business results
  • Assembled a world-class management team
  • Built a new brand strategy centered on craft beer
  • Created a new marketing calendar driven by monthly introductions of seasonal craft beers
  • Instituted a feature program where seasonal beer drives the menu offerings
  • Developed and launched a proprietary employee training program entitled “Craft Beer Hospitality”

Granite City’s new “Craft Beer Hospitality” guest experience program will provide employees with a thorough understanding of the brand’s history and craft beer heritage. In contrast to a typical casual dining experience, this initiative will provide Granite City staff with the tools necessary to go from merely telling guests about various craft beers to confidently teaching its customers about craft beer and its relationship to the Granite City menu.

“Our fresh brewed beer and scratch menu are only half of the story. The guest experience is the other half and is what truly energizes our craft beer heritage,” says Michael McBride, vice president of operations for Granite City. “We have designed the training program to elevate the craft beer experience by educating our staff about craft beer and empowering them to pass that knowledge on to our guests.”

“People are more likely to purchase from brands that educate them in some way, which leads to a better overall experience,” says Lynch. “That is why this rollout will play a vital role in creating a unique craft beer experience for our guests.”

Granite City has revamped its calendar of seasonal craft beer offerings, which will be leveraged within its scratch kitchen. Granite City’s marketing strategy will include the development of new beer-inspired menu items and limited time offers that coincide with the changing seasonal brew collection.

“Every craft beer has an inherently unique flavor profile,” says Zach Miller, vice-president of marketing for Granite City. “Having our rotating craft beer lineup spill over into our scratch kitchen allows us to keep our menu fresh and deliver an unparalleled craft beer and dining experience.”

The first example of the brand’s new craft beer-forward direction can be seen in its Oktoberfest in-store promotion set to run from September 28–October 25. During the promotion, Granite City will be re-releasing its award-winning Oktoberfest Märzen, hosting a beer tapping event for its loyalty club, hosting bier parties with live music and special menus, and unveiling its limited time Oktoberfest menu which will be available throughout the month of October.

“We have renewed our resolve toward building and enhancing the craft beer community,” says Lynch. “The entire Granite City concept will benefit if we hold true to our mission of creating craft beer fans for life as opposed to just securing a guest for a night.”

Granite City Food & Brewery operates two casual dining concepts—35 Granite City Food & Brewery restaurants across 14 states and five Cadillac Ranch All American Bar & Grill restaurants in five states.

Casual Dining, Chain Restaurants, Industry News