Drinks giant Diageo ended months of speculation with an announcement today about beer production plans in Ireland. The $1.01 billion plan keeps part of the company's famous St James's Gate brewery in operation.
Diageo plans to close about half of St James's Gate and shut down breweries in Kilkenny and Dundalk. The company will also build a new brewery at the edge of Dublin. Diageo Chief Executive Officer Paul Walsh is quoted in press reports that the move shows the company's commitment to the "spiritual home" of Guinness. The Dublin location is the top tourist attraction in Ireland.
Diageo plans to sell part of the site and the breweries in Kilkenny and Dundalk. Estimates are that the sale could attract between $750 million and $800 million. The St James's Gate site is where Arthur Guinness began brewing in 1759. He would later originate Guinness Stout at the brewery.
The new Dublin brewery would be for export production, particularly to serve the growing demand for Guinness in a number of African nations.