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Crafthouse Plans to Open 100 New Locations Over 5 Years

(Updated at 3:20 p.m.) Crafthouse, a growing beer-centric restaurant chain with a prominent Reston location, recently signed a $250 million deal to start franchising across the country.

As first reported by the Washington Business Journal, Crafthouse owner Evan Matz signed a deal with development firm American Development Partners to provide site selection, acquisition, and construction services for more than 100 new Crafthouse locations over the next five years.

Crafthouse currently has locations in Reston, Fairfax City, and Arlington’s Ballston neighborhood.

It’s a turnaround for Matz, who started his restaurants as franchisees of Florida-based World of Beer before going independent and rebranding the locations as “Crafthouse.” The move prompted a lawsuit from World of Beer, which has since been settled, according to the Business Journal.

Matz told Reston Now that the core idea of Crafthouse is not just locally sourced beer, but entire menus built around local specialties.

“Eat local, drink local,” said Matz. “I want to try to showcase local craft beer or local spirits. As we go forward, if we open one in North Carolina or Tennessee, I want to focus on the local beers there, like their whiskey or wine, but they’re also known for their ribs. If we open in Maryland it might be crab cakes or conch in Key West.”

As they begin looking at locations throughout the country, Matz said he’s excited by the variety of different locales and what they have to bring to the table.

“People love the concept, so I wanted to bring it to other possible franchisees to expand it throughout the country,” said Matz. “There’s a lot of exciting markets out there. Each one is unique in its own right.”

Crafthouse has arranged with American Development Partners to provide 100 percent funding for franchisees planning on placing a Crafthouse inside newly built, freestanding buildings.

While Matz said he plans to go to every location as they open and make sure they are being properly run, he said the emphasis is going to be on local owners independently owning and operating the restaurants.

Matz said Crafthouse is already beginning to get inquiries from across the country about potential new locations, and that he aims to have a franchised location open by late 2019 or early 2020. Matz said interested parties should reach out to Crafthouse through email at [email protected] or through the website.

Among the requirements for a new franchise location is at least $300,000 in liquid assets, a net worth over $1 million, and a credit score of 700 or above. But just as importantly, Matz said he’s looking for franchise owners who understand their community and are committed to it.

“Being directly involved as a local owner is key,” said Matz. “You have to be in touch with the community. Be involved and listen to what the customer wants. Forming your Crafthouse around the local area is key to success.”

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Thursday Morning Notes

“O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree” — If you’re looking for a place to get a tree this holiday season, this roundup lists nearby Christmas tree farms. [Reston Patch]

Dollars and Sense — The free monthly group at Reston Regional Library focuses on business leaders and markets. Tonight’s 7 p.m. discussion will be about Mel Lindauer ‘s book “The Bogleheads’: Guide to Investing.” [Fairfax County]

Tackling Reston’s housing inclusiveness — Richard Rothstein, author of “Color of Law: The Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America,” will lead a discussion on how housing policy impacts equitability and inclusiveness in Northern Virginia communities. An interactive panel discussion with local community experts will follow. The event takes place tonight at the Reston Community Center at 5 p.m. [Reston Community Center]

Investigating how the media impacts victims of crime — Karen Bune, a criminology professor at George Mason University, will dive into the news media’s role related to crime victims and ways to disseminate news without negatively impacting victims, survivors, confidentiality and ongoing investigations. The event is at 7 p.m. at the Herndon Fortnightly Library. [Fairfax County]

Photo via Ray Copson

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Letter: Praise for Crafthouse’s Donations to California Wildfire Aid

This letter was submitted by Spencer Abraham. It does not reflect the opinions of Reston Now. We publish article and opinion contributions of specific interest to the Reston community. Contributions may be edited for length or content.

As a resident of McLean whose family owns a retail store in Reston, I was extremely excited to read the Nov. 21 article in Reston Now entitled “Crafthouse Donates Part of Bottled Beer Sales to California Wildfire Aid.”

The article indicated that Reston’s Crafthouse brewery was donating 10 percent of all bottled beer sales through Dec. 15 to aid in the cleanup of the areas that were destroyed by the recent wildfires in California.

Although my home is in Northern Virginia, I attend college at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif. Fortunately, the area around my campus was not affected by the recent destruction, but we were close enough to smell the smoke from the fires and to understand, up close, just what damage had taken place.

A number of my friends from school live or have family members who live in the communities where the fires struck, and I know from them just how deadly they were and the incredible expense that will be incurred as the affected areas clean up after the infernos.

Therefore, it made me especially happy to read about the commitment made by Crafthouse and proud that businesses from my home area — a full continent from where the fires raged — were willing to help out. I salute Crafthouse and thank owner Evan Matz for his decision to help and the customers whose purchases and donations are providing the funds sent to California. Many thanks all around.

— Spencer Abraham

Photo via Crafthouse/Facebook

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Crafthouse Donates Part of Bottled Beer Sales to California Wildfire Aid

Crafthouse, a Northern Virginia-focused eatery, is helping families affected by the wildfires in California.

The three Crafthouse locations in Fairfax, Reston and Arlington will donate 10 percent of all bottled beer purchases to the American Red Cross, which has a fund set up for California wildfire aid.

Two wildfires burning across California this month have claimed at least 84 lives, and one of the fires is now the deadliest and most destructive one in the state’s history, according to news reports.

The restaurant posted on Facebook that the donations started last Thursday (Nov. 15) and will continue through Dec. 15.

Owner Evan Matz told Reston Now he got the idea after watching the news. “I felt so bad, and I wanted to be able to do something,” he said.

Matz said he has family near Calabasas, Calif. — they’re safe– and knows firsthand the displacement and destruction caused by natural disasters. He said his family had to move temporarily when Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 hurricane that struck the Bahamas, Florida and Louisiana, hit in 1992.

Patrons have started expressing support for the donations, Matz said. “Instead of the draft beer, they buy the bottles instead,” he said.

Crafthouse’s Reston spot is at 1888 Explorer Street.

Photos via Crafthouse/Facebook

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Reston-based Crafthouse Goes Nationwide, Expands Beyond Northern Virginia

Reston-based Crafthouse, a Northern Virginia-focused eatery that offers a craft menu and local craft beer, scotch, and wine, is now franchising, the company announced this week.

Owner Evan Matz opened three locations in Fairfax, Arlington, and Reston in May 2017, positioning himself for rapid expansion in the coming years.

“Our goal is to have signature food and drink items that are available at every Crafthouse alongside menu favorites that are customized for that local community,” Matz wrote in a statement. “We will encourage each franchisee to feature what their region or state does best – North Carolina ribs or Maryland crab cakes, for instance – and source from local businesses for fresh baked buns, bread, local produce, meat, fish, brews, whiskey, wine and more. This way, Crafthouse can truly support and showcase its local neighborhood while giving guests the quality and consistency of a proven brand.”

Each drink menu has 50 craft beers and an addition 150 in bottles in cans featuring local, regional and national brews, with a special eye for local flavors. Each Crafthouse has a large Bavarian pretzel that’s paired with a house=made beer cheese, tacos, and burgers.

Matz hopes future locations will have a dining room and patio seating for around 150 guests, with square footage ranging from 3,900 to 4,500 square feet. Restaurants will offer lunch, dinner and weekend brunch options, as well as catering for private events and corporate meetings. Crafthouse was named the Best Sports Bar for Football Fans by Arlington Magazine.

Ideal franchise candidate should have liquid assets of at least $300,000 and a net worth of $1 million. More information about background and preferred qualifications is available online.

File photo

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Crafthouse’s Changes About Quality over Quantity, Owner Says

Since leaving the World of Beer brand and becoming Crafthouse, Evan Matz is making a lot of changes.

“We used to have over 500 different beers, but now we do about less than half of that,” Matz said in an interview. “Even still, we have 50 beers on tap with the new addition of ciders, wine, spirits, any sort of drink.”

Matz said the changes in the restaurant (1888 Explorer St.), which had an official opening celebration last weekend, are about providing quality over quantity. The restaurant is now centered around local breweries including D.C. Brau, Ocelot, Port City and Blue Mountain; and distilleries including Copper Fox, Catoctin Creek and Filibuster. The menu has also been designed around sourcing ingredients from nearby farms; for example, all of the bread in the restaurant has been replaced by fresh baked products from Lyon Bakery.

“We want you to drink local, eat local and support local,” Matz said. “There’s an elevated difference in the food.”

The fallout with World of Beer Franchising Inc. that led to Matz rebranding his three area restaurants — in Reston, Fairfax and Ballston — has allowed him, he says, to expand the menu and cater to customer wants. Now that he has done so, to include items such as macaroni-and-cheese burgers and special brunch offers, Matz says there is a lot more variety for customers to enjoy.

“Now we’re able to offer all of these new starters and shareable items, which means a different happy hour special every day of the week,” he said.

Of course, there you can’t run a restaurant in Reston Town Center without facing its newest and biggest obstacle — the stigma that has come with paid parking.

“We give free validations to everyone who goes to Crafthouse, especially at lunchtime,” Matz said. “It’s just hard to get word out there that parking is now free after 5 p.m., a lot of people don’t seem to know that.”

Matz emphasized that customers need to understand that paid parking is not the restaurant’s fault.

“All we’re asking is that customers continue to come out and support local businesses,” he said.

The restaurant is open until midnight Sunday through Wednesday; 1 a.m. Thursday; and 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit its website or call 571-375-0847.

Photos courtesy Crafthouse

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