Beer, Wine & Spirits

Diageo opening Guinness brewery in US

Proposed Guinness Brewing Facility to be built in Relay, Maryland.
Source: Diageo

After a 63-year absence, Guinness Brewery will once again have a working brewery in the United States.

The Diageo-owned brand will be creating a version of its Dublin-based Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Relay, Maryland.

While the iconic Guinness Draught, Guinness Foreign Extra and Guinness Extra stouts will still be brewed in Dublin and exported to the U.S., the new brewery will focus on new Guinness beers created for the U.S. market.

The plans call for a "mid-sized" brewery with a packaging and warehouse operation as well as a visitor experience to allow tours and an "innovation microbrewery" and taproom for sampling experimental beers brewed on site.

"Opening a Guinness brewery and visitor center in the U.S. will enable us to collaborate with fellow brewers and interact with the vibrant community of beer drinkers," said Tom Day, president, Diageo Beer Company, USA, in a statement. "Given the success of our Open Gate Brewery in Dublin and the popularity of beer tourism in the U.S., we are confident that Americans will welcome the opportunity to come experience Guinness brewing in Baltimore County."

The new brewing operation would expand on the historic Calvert Distillery, a Diageo-owned production facility that first opened in 1933. It will create as many as 70 jobs in areas ranging from brewing, warehousing, bottling and staffing the visitor experience. The move would boost Diageo's total investment in the site to about $50 million.

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"Guinness' plan to build a brewery at its historic facility in Relay, Maryland, is great news for job creation, manufacturing, and tourism in our state," said Governor Larry Hogan. "Beer tourism attracts millions of visitors to towns and communities across the country every year and I look forward to welcoming Guinness to the roster of excellent breweries we have here in Maryland."

The Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Dublin has been a key part of the 257-year-old brand's renewed push for innovation as it faces heightened competition in the U.S. and abroad.

According to Chicago-based market research firm IRI, which measures sales at multi-outlet and convenience stores, Guinness' two largest U.S. imports, Guinness Draught and Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, grew dollar sales 1.8 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively in 2016.

In 2014, the brand established the Brewer's Project, which gives Guinness brewers the freedom to experiment with small batch beers and solicit feedback from visitors to Dublin's Guinness Open Gate Brewery. Feedback from the project has resulted in limited-time beer releases such as Guinness Rye Pale Ale and Guinness Antwerpen Stout, which were released last year.

Diageo officials are hoping for a fall 2017 opening for the new facility, to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Guinness first being imported into the United States.

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