Diageo is to close its Guinness factory in the US state of Maryland, with up to 108 employees set to be affected by the move.
The London-headquartered drinks giant revealed via Work Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notice that its Guinness manufacturing facility in Relay, Maryland is set to shut down by 9 June 2023.
In a statement to Just Drinks, however, Diageo stated that it anticipates around 97 roles to be affected.
“After careful consideration and analysis of our supply footprint, we have made the difficult decision to permanently close our manufacturing facility in Relay, Maryland,” the statement read. “In order to ensure long term sustainable growth for Diageo, we are optimising our existing operations across North America to meet evolving consumer preferences.”
Hospitality operations at the Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Relay will not be affected by the closure. The taproom has welcomed over 1.3 million customers since its opening in 2018, Diageo said.
Diageo added that it will be supporting those employees affected.
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“For those affected we are providing support in the form of severance packages, outplacement assistance, and employee assistance resources, as well as information on open roles across our organization,” it said.
The company will also “continue to brew experimental beers to serve the brewery’s taproom in the 10-barrel innovation brewery on the ground floor of the visitor centre”.
The news comes as the Smirnoff brand owner prepares to open a Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Chicago.
The Chicago site, which is set to open this summer, will also feature a taproom.
Guinness, alongside Tequila, was one of the only bright spots for Diageo in North America in H1. However, this could not help the Smirnoff brand owner offset declines in Scotch, Canadian whisky and vodka.
The company’s sales in the region grew by just 3% in the six months to December, missing analyst expectations by four percentage points.
On a group level, meanwhile, Diageo’s Guinness brand grew by 17%, driven by performance in both Europe and North America.