Despite being a profitable enterprise, the Kilkenny brewery was still closed down by Diageo as they feel consolidation is the only way to continue to compete in a global market.
A spokesperson for Diageo said that both Kilkenny and Dundalk breweries were performing well but Diageo felt that they would be surplus to brewing requirements once the expanded St James’s Gate facility came on board.
“The breweries are not being closed on a performance issue. Both Kilkenny and Dundalk were performing well. The decision to consolidate the brewing into one single location was to insure that Diageo would remain competitive in the future,” the spokesperson said.
In 2008 the Kilkenny operation employed 92 full-time workers. Since then the operation has been scaled back and currently the 25-acre site employs 44 full-time workers. Many of the Diageo workers took a generous early retirement package that was on offer. For those who didn’t, Diageo has said that there are limited opportunities available for workers in the new Dublin plant.
The brewery in Kilkenny will continue to brew Smithwick’s until 2013 when the new expanded James’s Gate facility will take over the brewing of all of Diageo’s Irish beer output.
Kilkenny Beer, which was introduced in the 1990s to target the European and Canadian markets, will be brewed in Dublin. Kilkenny remains “a very popular beer in export and global markets,” according to a Diageo spokesperson.
The most recent beer brewed in Kilkenny, the Smithwick’s Pale Ale launched last year, faces a less certain future. Despite being well received by pub drinkers in the marble city, Smithwick’s Pale Ale is not definitely going to be continued. “Pale Ale is still on test. It is going well at the moment but future plans haven’t come to light yet,” the spokesperson said.