Diageo Ireland has entered into agreements to acquire a 73-acre greenfield site in Leixlip, Co. Kildare, with the intention to build a brewery.

In a statement today (11 September), the drinks giant said that the development represents the next stage of the EUR650m (GBP520m) capital investment in its brewing operations in Ireland announced by Diageo in May.

It is anticipated that the new brewery will be completed by 2013 and will be called the "Arthur Guinness Brewery".

"Once commissioned, the new brewery - in conjunction with the remodelled St. James's Gate brewery - will transform Diageo Ireland's current brewing operations into a two-brewery centre of excellence to support the growth and development of its domestic and global beer business," a statement said.

The company said that the site has important historical and heritage links to Guinness. Arthur Guinness established his first brewery in Leixlip in 1755 before moving to St. James's Gate in 1759. Most of the proposed site will be purchased from the Guinness family, direct descendents of Arthur Guinness.

The remaining area of the site will be purchased, subject to council approval, from Kildare County Council.

The site will be the biggest Diageo brewery in the world and the largest in Ireland.

Brian Duffy, Guinness global brand director and chairman of Diageo Ireland, said: "Not only are we demonstrating our commitment to Ireland, we are also staying true to the roots and heritage of the Guinness brand and Arthur himself.

"A new world-class brewery built in a location with such close historical links and with the full support of the Guinness family, is a remarkable milestone in the life of a remarkable brand and something I feel that only Diageo with its sense of heritage and tradition would do."

Gerry O'Hagan, supply director for Guinness and Baileys, added: "The choice of the location of the new brewery follows an extensive due diligence and site selection process.

"The new brewery is part of the single biggest capital investment made by Diageo in its supply infrastructure since the company's creation 10 years ago and will enhance the cost competitiveness of our global beer operations. It represents a major vote of confidence in our beer business here in Ireland as a global brewing centre of excellence for our company. We will now progress planning approval for the site as quickly as possible."