Guinness UDV Ireland, a unit of the giant UK spirits group Diageo, is to invest €38 million in its breweries in Waterford and Dundalk in order to expand production of the popular stout brand.
Mary Harney, Ireland's Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment, announced the investment at a press conference yesterday, adding that the investment was supported by the government's Enterprise Ireland programme.
"The investment in production facilities and new technology is required to meet the increasing demand for the special ingredient which is used to brew Guinness at 50 breweries around the world," Harney said. "Enterprise Ireland is supporting this development and I am pleased that such a major level of investment has been secured for the Waterford Brewery."
She said that Waterford had been selected as the most appropriate site for the investment after a major review of Guinness' brewing sites both in Ireland and abroad. The site was assessed as the most likely to deliver in terms of service, quality and flexibility, she said, adding that the investment would also safeguard the long-term future of the Waterford plant.
"I am particularly pleased that this level of investment has been secured for Ireland, the original home of Guinness," she said.
Brian Duffy, managing director of Guinness UDV Ireland said the investment was welcome because it reflected the growing demand for the company's eponymous brand. "Guinness Stout export volumes have grown significantly by nine per cent each year for the past three years, and it is anticipated that this growth pattern will continue. To meet the global demand, a second special ingredient production plant is required as the facility at St. James's Gate [in Dublin] is nearing full capacity."
He said that in addition to the €34 million spent on converting the Waterford plant to the ingredient production facility, there would be further expenditure entailed by transferring ale production from Waterford to Dundalk Brewery, which has sufficient capacity to ensure continuity of supply and product quality.
"This will result in the expansion of Dundalk's existing product range," Duffy said. "St. James's Gate will continue to be the major producer of the special ingredient for export as well as the main production centre for Guinness for home and export markets."