SAN JOSE — Gordon Biersch has cemented its long-term presence in San Jose with a deal to buy its brewery property near the city’s Japantown district.
A real estate affiliate of the high-profile brewing company has bought the site where Gordon Biersch maintains its primary operations.
“Gordon Biersch has been in San Jose for 30 years and we are now firmly planted here with this deal,” said Dan Gordon, the principal executive of the brewery company. “We wanted to control our own destiny. We wanted to be here forever.”
The affiliate, Gordon Biersch Real Estate Holdings, paid $11.8 million for a 3.1-acre site at 357 E. Taylor St. in San Jose that includes the brewery complex, according to documents filed on June 30.
“It’s a thrill for me to complete this purchase,” Gordon said. “We saw how real estate is getting more expensive in the South Bay. This ensures our longevity in San Jose.”
The building on the site totals about 110,000 square feet, Gordon said.
The seller of the site was Exeter Brewery, which is controlled by a family headed by William Bullard that used to be a majority owner of Gordon Biersch. Gordon eventually bought out the Bullard group.
“It was a long, arduous process to put this real estate deal together,” Gordon said. “It took about 18 months to complete this transaction. We are lucky to have Heritage Bank as our financing partners.”
Heritage Bank provided a $10.6 million loan to the Gordon Biersch group. Capital Access Group also provided $4.8 million in funding, the documents filed with the Santa Clara County Recorder’s Office show.
Gordon Biersch also is being bolstered by local investors that include real estate executives Gary Dillabough and Terence Fox, Gordon said.
Heightened stability through owning the property on East Taylor Street is a welcome counterpoint to some of the setbacks for the Gordon Biersch restaurant operations.
In 2018, Gordon Biersch restaurant closed its doors in downtown San Jose. That restaurant was owned by a company called Craftworks, which had previously bought it from Dan Gordon years earlier. In 2020, primarily due to the coronavirus, Dan Gordon closed his Palo Alto restaurant, which he did own at the time of the shutdown.
The company also is preparing for a new generation of managers. Gordon said his son, Oliver Gordon, is the firm’s chief financial officer.
Located in the bustling Japantown district on the edges of downtown San Jose, the brewery could help activate the area around it, Gordon believes.
That could happen with the return, starting in the next few weeks, of Gordon Biersch Night Market. The event, launched in 2017, went on hiatus during 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak and the attendant restrictions.
“We’re bringing street cuisine, musicians, makers, and breweries together for an outdoor event that family can enjoy,” is how the event is described in a post on the Gordon Biersch website.
The event is held in the big parking lot next to the brewery and will run for several weeks in July and August this year.
“I’m trying to see if San Jose Jazz will put on more events here,” Gordon said.
Eventually, Gordon hopes the company can strike a deal with an adjacent property owner to offer samples and raise the brewery’s profile even further.
“We would at some point like to put in a tasting room in the neighboring building next to the back of our property,” Gordon said.