Diageo plots new Guinness brewhouse

Diageo plots new Guinness brewhouse

Diageo is edging closer to building a new Guinness brewery at its St James's Gate site in Ireland.

The company is in the process of submitting a planning application to Dublin Council that would allow it to build a new brewhouse on the north side of the St James's Gate site. The project is likely to cost around EUR100m (US$131m). 

"We are now making a planning application to build a new brewery at St James's Gate," a Diageo spokesperson told just-drinks today (21 December). If approved, she said that work could begin in early 2012, although the project has not yet been officially backed by Diageo Ireland's board. 

The new brewery would eventually replace the existing brewhouse on the south side of the St James's Gate site. Diageo has been in talks with Dublin Council about the project since May.

The move is linked to Diageo's restructuring plan for Ireland, which was first announced in May 2008 but has been frozen since 2009, mainly for macro-economic reasons. Diageo's spokesperson said that restructuring plans for other sites in Ireland "are still on hold" and that "no decision has been made".   

Before being placed on hold indefinitely, Diageo's plan would have seen the group build a EUR650m (US$945.6m) brewery in Ireland, at the expense of closing its existing breweries in Kilkenny and Dundalk. Also as part of the original plan, operations at its Waterford brewery would have been scaled back, with St James's Gate redeveloped to focus solely on Guinness production for the UK and Ireland.