Diageo said today that it had completed its £2.8m investment in its global supply bottling and canning plant at Marshalls Road Belfast.

The investment, which is made up of £2.8m from Diageo and supported by Invest NI, will increase the plant's capability and capacity enabling it to can Guinness Draught for the 63 markets world wide that currently consume the product.

"Guinness Draught in a can is the leading canned product within the Diageo group with over 192m cans produced for the world wide market and it is excellent news for Northern Ireland that it has been secured by global supply at Marshalls Road," said Paul Gallagher, packaging director. "This further investment is a result of the plant demonstrating its capability to deliver on its strategy and performance promises. This has been supported by the development of a flexible and focused work force that continues to rise to the challenges of increasingly demanding market conditions.

"The market for cans of Guinness Draught is increasing both with organic growth - Ireland, GB and USA are largest markets - and the launch into new markets," continued Gallagher. "The investment, which has provided for a new can filler with widget inserter technology, gives us the capability to produce 60,000 cans per hour over 24/7 shift operation." 

Leslie Morrison, chief executive of Invest NI said: "This plant is one of Northern Ireland's major exporters in the food and drink sector. It has developed state-of-the-art production processes to allow it to operate at the highest levels of quality standards and efficiency. It is making a major contribution to the global competitiveness of the company.

The investment will build on the other bottling and canning that takes place at the plant: Guinness Stout, Budweiser, Harp, Carlsberg, Smirnoff Ice and Smithwicks.