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Growler USA acquires Smiling Moose Rocky Mountain Deli

Both chains plan to expand through franchising

Dan White Growler USA
Growler USA founder Dan White will be CEO of Growler and Smiling Moose. Photo: Growler USA

Growler USA has acquired Smiling Moose Rocky Mountain Deli, which has 17 units in seven states, the companies said Wednesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Growler USA is an eight-unit, craft-beer-focused, casual-dining chain. Company founder Dan White will be CEO of both Growler and Smiling Moose, and plans to expand both brands separately through franchising.

The fast-casual Smiling Moose chain, which is based in Denver, will relocate its headquarters to Growler USA’s offices in the Denver suburb of Centennial, Colo.

Former Smiling Moose president and CEO Sue Daggett will serve as executive vice president of Growler USA.

“Smiling Moose attracts a very similar customer base as Growler USA, in that guests are looking for a unique, higher quality experience,” White said in a press release. “The brand has a strong infrastructure that offers great synergy with our franchise operations team, and I expect it will have a parallel growth path with Growler USA.”

Smiling Moose Deli sandwich
Smiling Moose serves sandwiches in a fast-casual setting. Photo: Smiling Moose

Growler USA offers American-made craft beverages, including beer, cider draught wine, root beer, cold brew coffee and kombucha, as well as pizza, sandwiches, chicken wings and other bar food. The chain was founded in 2014 and opened its first franchise locations in March, in Charlotte, N.C., and Austin, Texas. Four additional franchises are scheduled to open this summer in Honolulu, Hawaii; Centennial, Colo.; Redmond, Wash.; and Katy, Texas.

Smiling Moose has 14 franchised locations and three company-owned units. Late last year it rebranded itself, adding “Rocky Mountain” to its name to reflect its heritage, and developed a new prototype and menu.

“This was a strategic acquisition, as I think Smiling Moose Deli has a similar flair to Growler USA — it is a hometown, neighborhood place that has fantastic energy surrounding it,” White said. “The Growler USA development team is second to none, and I am confident they will provide the restaurant and franchise industry resources needed to grow Smiling Moose Rocky Mountain Deli more aggressively and provide greater opportunities for new and existing franchisees.”    

Correction: April 21, 2016 An earlier version of this story misstated that former Smiling Moose president and CEO Sue Daggett would be serving as executive vice president at a new company. She will hold the position at Growler USA.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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