Drinks company Diageo, which owns Guinness, is to build a new €200m brewery near Newbridge in Co Kildare.
The carbon neutral facility will be used to produce lagers and ales, freeing up capacity at its main facility at St James’s Gate in Dublin to allow it to produce more stout for global markets.
The brewery, which will be the second largest in the country, will be situated on a greenfield site at Littleconnell.
When operational in 2024 it will be capable of producing 2 million hectolitres of beer a year.
“Our plans for a new, state-of-the-art brewery in Kildare, and the developments at St James’s Gate, will enable growth in overall beer exports from Ireland,” said Colin O’Brien, Category Head – Global Beer Supply, Diageo.
“We are fully committed to embedding sustainability across our business from grain to glass and this announcement represents the next step in our integrated approach towards achieving one of Diageo’s Society 2030: Spirit of Progress commitments by becoming carbon neutral in our direct operations.”
The plan is subject to the granting of planning permission by Kildare County Council with an application due to be made by the end of the year.
Around 1,000 construction workers will be employed during the building process, with 50 permanent jobs set to be created once it is open.
“Diageo’s decision to invest in a second brewery in Ireland is a fantastic endorsement of the Irish food & drink ecosystem,” said Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy, who welcomed the announcement.
“The new facility will make an important contribution to the local economy, supporting value added exports, creating high quality jobs, and doing so in line with the highest sustainably standards.”
IDA Ireland, which supports inward investment into Ireland, also welcomed the news, with chief executive Martin Shanahan adding that it demonstrated Diageo’s continued commitment to sustainability.
The plant will be completely powered by renewable energy and will use the latest technology to reduce its water and energy consumption as much as possible.
Diageo estimates that this will enable it to avoid carbon emissions of up to 15,000 metric tonnes a year.
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said the investment represents great news for the future development of Ireland’s thriving food and drink industry, the local economy in Kildare and the wider national economy.
Among those products that will be produced in the new facility are Rockshore, Harp, Hop House 13, Smithwick’s, Kilkenny and Carlsberg.
The development represents something of a back to the future moment for the company, as Arthur Guinness opened his first brewery in nearby Leixlip in Co Kildare in 1756, before moving production to St James’s Gate in Dublin 1759.
In 2008, Diageo announced plans for a new brewery in Leixlip, but following a review of the project the following year as a result of the global economic downturn, it never went ahead and the company invested in St James’s Gate instead.