Guinness parent company Diageo is to invest €200m in Ireland’s first carbon-neutral brewery on a greenfield site in Newbridge, Co Kildare.
The Littleconnell facility will brew all of its lagers and ales, including Rockshore, Harp, Hop House 13, Smithwick’s, Kilkenny and Carlsberg. When fully operational with a capacity of two million hectolitres, it will be the second largest brewery in Ireland after St James’s Gate in Dublin.
It will be powered by 100% renewable energy and will utilize the latest processing technologies to minimize overall energy and water consumption. This will allow the brewery to avoid up to 15,000 metric tons of carbon emissions per year.
As production of lagers and lagers is transferred to the new facility, St James’s Gate will increase Guinness production to meet global demand and increase the use of renewable energy technologies.
Diageo is due to submit a planning application to Kildare Co Council in September and, if successful, plans to start brewing in 2024 after a construction period of around two years.
Tánaiste and Enterprise Minister Leo Varadkar said Diageo’s investment was “very good news for the future development of Ireland’s thriving food and drink industry, as well as the wider national economy”.
“It’s also hugely positive for Newbridge and the local economy in Kildare, with up to 1,000 jobs created during the construction of the site and 50 once built…Industry has a role to play and I’m really delighted to see Diageo taking the lead and investing in this carbon neutral brewery, which I’m sure will be an example for others.
Diageo’s Colin O’Brien, category manager for global beer sourcing, said the group’s plans for a brewery in Kildare and developments at St James’s Gate would enable sustainable growth in global beer exports from the Ireland.
“We are fully committed to embedding sustainability throughout our business…by becoming carbon neutral in our direct operations. »
The new facility will contribute to Ireland’s critical economic and climate policy objectives, such as supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy while increasing food and drink production and associated jobs, said he estimated.
The Newbridge facility will initially use woodchip boilers and switch to renewable electricity through contracts with external suppliers, Mr O’Brien said, while St James’s Gate will use biogas if it becomes available in the quantities needed or electric boilers.
Diageo’s plan to be carbon neutral by 2030 was on schedule, he said, while decarbonizing emissions from its scope 3 supply chain (emissions from assets it does not directly control) was the hardest – it committed to reducing associated greenhouse gases by 50 per cent.
Efforts to reduce packaging, including glass, cans and aluminum drums, and to decarbonize ovens were progressing well, as was its pilot project with tillage farmers adopting regenerative agriculture. This approach seeks to work in harmony with the natural environment by giving back more than it takes out and is increasingly seen as an effective way to minimize the environmental damage associated with food production, including reducing emissions.
Enterprise Ireland chief executive Leo Clancy said Diageo’s move was an endorsement of the Irish food and drink ecosystem. “We look forward to continuing to partner with them as they embark on this ambitious project…The new facility will make a significant contribution to the local economy, supporting value-added exports, creating high quality, in accordance with the highest sustainable standards.
IDA Managing Director Martin Shanahan welcomed the proposed development. “This planned investment demonstrates Diageo’s continued commitment to sustainability, which is also a key pillar of IDA Ireland’s current strategy Driving Recovery and Sustainable Growth 2021 – 2024,” he added.