Diageo plans 40% increase in brewing capacity with new €153m brewhouse

Pending planning approval, a new larger seven million hectolitre brewhouse will be built on the ‘Northlands’ campus at St James’s Gate to replace the current five million hectolitre capacity brewhouse adjacent to the Storehouse visitor centre on the ‘Southlands’ sector of the site which was built in the 80s and which is now reaching the end of its lifecycle.

No plans have been made for the old brewery site which will be decommissioned when the new one is up-and-running, according to a spokesperson.

Work on the new brewery is set to begin this year pending planning approval now that Diageo Ireland’s board has formally approved it. The project will take about a year-and-a-half to two years and be ready for commissioning by 2014.
The 40 per cent increase in brewing capacity will mean the closure of the Dundalk and Kilkenny breweries, however, with the loss of 99 jobs.

The Dundalk brewery is to close in July next year with the loss of 55 full-time jobs while the Kilkenny brewery will close in December of next year with the loss of 44 full-time jobs. Diageo is currently in conversations with both town councils but as yet there’s no outcome for what’s going to happen to the sites. Diageo Ireland confirmed that these closures would not affect the Waterford operation, however.

“The key point here is that the future of brewing in Ireland has been secured by this move,” stressed the spokesperson, “This is seen as the best option in terms of consolidation and investing in St James’s Gate.”

The 99 jobs to go are considerably down on Diageo’s initial plan announced in 2008 which originally envisaged 250 redundancies from these two breweries.

Over this period of time the company worked hard with employee representatives to reduce this number where possible through early redundancy etc. However there are limited options for redeployment at St James’s Gate as it’s estimated that there are enough employees there to brew to the higher capacity required.

St James’s Gate serves the Irish, UK, US and other markets and Diageo’s aspirations are to commence building work immediately following planning approval.


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