Diageo plans to close its Waterford facility

Diageo plans to close its Waterford facility

Diageo has confirmed it plans to close one of its brewing-related plants in Ireland with the loss of 21 jobs. 

The Waterford site, which opened in 2004 with a EUR40m (US$52.4m) investment, produces Guinness Flavour Essence, which is exported to 49 markets worldwide. The site will "fully cease" operations at the end of 2013, Diageo confirmed in a statement to just-drinks today (12 April).

The  company said the move is in order to maintain its "global competitiveness". 

Production of Guinness Flavour Essence will transfer to the company's flagship facility at St James's Gate in Dublin by the end of this year, with plans to upgrade facilities there, the company said. 

The essence is described by Diageo as Guinness' "special ingredient", giving the stout its "unique aroma".

Twenty-one people are employed full-time at the Waterford site. The spokesperson confirmed that all 21 will be "impacted" by the closure.

"We have now started consultation with this group through their employee representatives and we will work with them on future opportunities," the spokesperson added. 

Paul Armstrong, Diageo Europe's beer supply chain director, added: “Through their skill and commitment, our employees at Waterford have made an outstanding contribution to our business over many years and it is with sadness and regret that we are required to make this decision in order to maintain our global competitiveness." 

Diageo kicked-off a "restructuring" plan in Ireland 2008, which was subsequently put on hold a year later. In January last year the company cut 99 jobs in the country, but said at the time that Waterford was not part of a restructuring review.

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