December 2013 has been given as the closure date for Kilkenny’s St Francis Abbey Brewery, subject to planning and construction timelines at Diageo’s St James’s Gate brewery in Dublin.
The brewery currently has 44 full-time staff, according to a brewery spokesperson.
Staff at the 301-year-old brewery were informed of the news at a meeting today, as were staff at Diageo’s brewery in Dundalk, The Great Northern Brewery, which is also being closed down.
The closures come as part of Diageo’s €153 million plans to expand the Guinness brewery in Dublin to focus all of its Irish brewing on one site.
Diageo’s supply chain director for Europe, Paul Armstrong, said in a statement: “Our employees at Kilkenny have made an outstanding contribution to the success of our business over many years and it is with sadness and regret that we are required to make this decision in order to maintain our competitiveness. We are committed to supporting these employees through career management expertise, career counselling and outplacement support.”
The company said the plans for St James’s Gate over the next two years “will be an important part of securing the long-term competitiveness of Diageo’s beer business and by concentrating all brewing activity on the St James’s Gate site will underpin the company’s commitment to Ireland. The development at St James’s Gate will also provide significant employment during its construction phase, resulting in the creation of 300 construction jobs, subject to planning permission, in the first half of this year.”