Guinness to open $80m brewery in Baltimore

Guinness will open its first brewery in the US for more than 60 years this summer following an US$80m investment to replicate the success of its St James’s Gate Guinness Brewery in Dublin, which welcomes 1.5 million tourists each year.

The brewery, based outside of Baltimore, will officially open on 3 August, and will include a visitor centre with a 270-seat restaurant and a tap room in a former distillery, according to the company.

“The USA is probably the most dynamic and exciting beer market in the world right now, and, put simply, we’d like to be closer to the action,” said Guinness.

“Having a brewery in the USA will help us understand and respond to trends more quickly, as well as brew smaller batches and get them to market faster.”

Called the Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House, the new 62-acre facility is based on the original site of the Calvert distillery, which was originally called the Maryland Distilling Company.

It first opened after prohibition in Maryland, in 1933, and for decades it distilled, barrel-aged and bottled several spirits brands, including the Lord Calvert Whisky brand.

In 2001 the site was acquired by Diageo as part of its purchase of Seagram, with spirits aging and bottling continuing at the site until 2015.

The new facility will have three brewhouses on site – a small two barrel pilot brewery, a 10 hectolitre brewhouse, and a custom-designed 100 hectolitre – as well as large and small-scale packaging lines.

The new brewery will also become the home of Guinness Blonde American Lager, which is currently the only Guinness beer made in America by City Brewing in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

“In time, our aim is to brew new beers for the US market for either regional or national release on this system,” it said. “It is one sixth the size of our world-class Brewhouse 4 at St James’s Gate, so it will enable us to brew at a smaller scale.”

None of the company’s stouts – such as its Guinness Draught Stout and Guinness Extra Stout – will be brewed in Maryland, but will continue to be imported from Ireland.

“Baltimore is an amazing city with respect for the past combined a sense of dynamism and excitement for the future,” said Diageo.

“The brewing industry in Maryland is growing fast with several notable breweries making a name for themselves locally and nationally.  We hope we can help the industry prosper and achieve the recognition we think it deserves. We also believe there is huge potential for increased tourism in the area.”

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