IRELAND – Diageo, the London-based brewer and spirits giant, has received approval to proceed with the construction of a new US$218 million brewery in County Kildare, Ireland, following a temporary setback caused by an environmental appeal.  

The approval comes after Diageo cautioned An Bord Pleanála, the Irish authority responsible for granting planning permission, about potential threats to the project’s viability due to delays in the approval process.  

An Bord Pleanála had attributed the delays to a backlog of cases, but it has now cleared the path for Diageo’s plans to materialize. 

A spokesperson for Diageo expressed satisfaction with An Bord Pleanála’s decision, stating, “We welcome the decision by An Bord Pleanála to grant planning permission for Ireland’s first purpose-built, carbon-neutral brewery in Kildare.  

This €200m investment by Diageo in Ireland will support the growth of our beer brands while meeting our targets to be net zero by 2030. The benefits of this project are compelling, and we expect work to commence in early 2024.” 

The proposed brewery in Newbridge will feature a 98,000-square-foot main brewing facility, including a brewhouse, storage, and handling areas. Once completed, it is slated to become Ireland’s second-largest brewing facility, with an annual capacity of two million hectoliters. 

Diageo plans to relocate the production of its ale and beer brands, such as Hop House 13, Harp, Smithwick’s, and Kilkenny, from St. James’s Gate in Dublin to the Kildare site.  

“This move is part of a broader strategy to optimize the Dublin site for increased Guinness production by removing other brands,” said the company. 

Following Diageo’s announcement of the Kildare site last year, the company committed to enhancing the Dublin plant with renewable technologies. Kildare County Council had initially granted planning permission for the project in March, but the process encountered complications when an environmental appeal was lodged by John Callaghan. 

Mr. Callaghan, central to RTE Investigates allegations concerning payoffs in the planning system, withdrew his appeal on November 23, stating that no financial inducements were sought or offered. 

The brewery’s construction is expected to commence in early 2024, reinforcing Diageo’s commitment to sustainability and its strategic expansion in the Irish brewing landscape. 

In recent developments, Diageo expanded the production capacity for its non-alcoholic stout Guinness 0.0 with a €25m (US$27m) investment at its St. James’s Gate facility. 

Last week, Axios reported Diageo was seeking to sell a clutch of assets in beer but retain Guinness, its flagship brand in that market. 

However, according to Just Drinks, the beverage giant has no plans to divest any of its beer brands. 

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