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Big River plans continued b'pub expansion.

AP--The Chattanooga-based restaurant chain that bought the rights to make Gordon Biersch beer for restaurant sales will open its new Miami location this weekend, the second of four planned brewpubs this year.

The Biersch company maintains its brewery and bottling facility in San Jose, Calif., but the restaurants are developed and owned by the Chattanooga company.

"We think we have the best beer brand in the industry, but we've found the real keys to success are to have great food, great service and a great location," said Allen Corey, a Chattanooga attorney who left his law practice three years ago to head up the local brewery and restaurant company. "Our strategy seems to be working in markets across the country."

The Chattanooga company emerged as the fastest growing restaurant chain in America during 1999, according to the trade publication Restaurant Business. It was listed as No. 1 among the top 50 growth chains in sales growth, with sales boosted from $30 million in 1998 to $84 million last year.

The company's original brewery restaurant, Big River Grille, debuted in 1993 in downtown Chattanooga. It now has two dozen brewpubs and 3,000 employees.

Its brewpubs are located in the downtown areas of major cities, usually in renovated old buildings.

"No two of our restaurants are exactly alike," said Ben Probasco, the company's vice president of real estate. "We've been apart of the revitalization of a lot of downtowns."

The new Miami restaurant, and all future growth, will come under the Gordon Biersch label. The company also operates under the names Big River Grille, Ragtime Tavern, A1A Ale Works and Seven Bridges Grill and Brewery.
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Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 28, 2000
Words:274
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