Beef 'O' Brady's buys franchise rights to The Brass Tap

The Brass Tap is looking into adding food to their menu

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s has acquired the franchise rights to grow The Brass Tap, a craft beer and wine bar with three locations in Tampa, Fla., the company said Monday.

Tampa-based Beef ‘O’ Brady’s is a sports pub chain known for Buffalo wings, a kid-friendly menu and video games. All but seven locations of the 213-unit chain are franchised. The acquisition of rights to The Brass Tap marks the company’s first investment in another franchise brand.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Brass Tap founders Jeff Martin, Gary Bailey and Steve Slowey will remain shareholders, partners and franchise operators of the three locations currently open, as well as a fourth scheduled to open in South Tampa later this year.

The trio also collectively operates seven Beef ‘O’ Brady’s locations in Florida as franchisees.

Martin created The Brass Tap after seeing the popularity of craft beers grow and noting a need for a bar concept with live entertainment. The first location opened in 2007.

The bar does not currently offer food, but James Walker, chief development officer for Beef ‘O’ Brady’s and The Brass Tap, said they plan to add menu items to pair with the craft beers.

Walker said Beef ‘O’ Brady’s was attracted to The Brass Tap because of the popularity of craft beer, but also because of the business model.

The bar brand offers potential for domestic and international growth in both traditional and non-traditional locations, he added. “We’re looking at airports, [where] a craft beer bar would be like shooting fish in a barrel,” Walker said.

Martin noted that the founders were impressed by Beef ‘O’ Brady’s growth through franchising, and they felt the partnership would allow The Brass Tap to grow nationally more quickly. “The partnership between The Brass Tap and Beef ‘O’ Brady’s is a perfect fit,” Martin said in a statement. “Our ability to leverage Beef’s strong franchise development team and deep resources within the restaurant and franchise industry will allow us to more aggressively grow The Brass Tap brand. In a few short years, we’ve already discovered that there’s a rapidly expanding market for us.”

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s plans to open at least three new franchise units of The Brass Tap by the first quarter of 2013, Walker said. The Brass Tap’s locations are typically 2,000 to 3,000 square feet, with about a 500-square-foot patio. Turnkey opening costs range from $300,000 to $500,000, before any tenant improvement allowance, Martin said.

The move comes at a time when Beef ‘O’ Brady’s is ramping up international development. Earlier this year the chain struck a franchise agreement to open units in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s also hired Gene Savage as director of franchise sales and development in December with the goal of moving outside the 22 states in which it currently operates.

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