Diageo is set to name the location of its new state-of-the-art brewery in Ireland, intended to brew Guinness and other beer brands for world markets.

A Diageo Ireland spokesperson told just-drinks today (1 September) that the drinks giant was in "very advanced stages of negotiations in terms of announcing a location".

Exact details of the site are likely to be released "in a matter of weeks", she said, adding that the location, somewhere on the outskirts of Dublin, would be "comparable in size to the St James' Gate brewery".

The new EUR500m (US$729.4m) brewery will form the linchpin of Diageo's re-organisation in Ireland. Both the Kilkenny and Dundalk breweries will be closed, with production at the Waterford brewery cut, once the new facility opens in 2013. Up to 250 job losses are anticipated.

Rising export markets for Guinness largely fuelled the decision, Diageo announced earlier this year.

Guinness sales rose in double digits in Diageo's international division for the year to the end of June, the UK firm announced last Thursday (28 August). Total Guinness sales, including the UK and Ireland, rose 9% for the period, with volumes creeping up 1%.

Separately this weekend, Irish farmers threatened to launch more protests against Diageo over low farmgate prices for barley, a key ingredient in Guinness.

Diageo maintains that it cannot be held responsible for pricing issues between farmers and its main supplier, Greencore Malt.

But Irish Farmers' Association president, Padraig Walshe, said this weekend: "Growers are angry at the flat refusal by Diageo to intervene. The mood is militant and direct action cannot be ruled out." Walshe did not specify what form action might take.

"Growers' costs have increased by EUR35/tonne, and the offer of EUR180/tonne is unacceptable as growers cannot cover their production costs", he added.