Gordon Biersch Vignettes

By H. Grousbeck, Andrea Higuera
2002 | Case No. E121
This case offers students a view into some of the day-to-day management issues faced by entrepreneurs managing a growing business. The case starts by providing background information on the Gordon Biersch Brewing Company, which was founded by Dan Gordon and Dean Biersch. After successfully opening their first brewery restaurant in Palo Alto, California in 1998, Dan and Dean opened four additional brewery restaurants in California and Hawaii. After proving the concept in several different locations, the founders felt the company was poised for rapid expansion by 1995. To finance this growth, Dan and Dean raised $11.2 million in outside capital and in exchange, gave up majority control of their business. The case goes on to present two vignettes taken from Dan and Dean’s day-to-day management experiences. In the first situation, Dan and Dean were faced with a sexual harassment lawsuit. They ultimately decided to settle for nearly $400,000 but were left wondering what they could have done differently to avoid this situation. In the second situation, Dan Gordon faced an ethical dilemma regarding the company’s sales into sporting arenas and stadiums.
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