22 May 2022

Diageo agree to meet Kilkenny County Council over future of Smithwick's Experience

Update: Diageo say 'impossible to adapt the Smithwick's Experience for it to be a viable business'

The Smithwick's Experience

Trojan efforts are being made to save the award-winning tourist attraction, The Smithwick's Experience, from closing with public representatives, the business community and the wider community all calling for a solution to be found.

Chairman of Kilkenny County Council, Andrew McGuinness confirmed that he has spoken with Diageo's Corporate Relations Director this morning and described it as 'a positive conversation'.

Cllr Mc Guinness expressed his disappointment at the news of the Smithwicks Experience closure and requested that Diageo consider 'donating or selling the building at a minimal cost to Kilkenny County Council so the attraction can be retained'.

"I did have a telephone meeting with Diageo this morning and I outlined how upset and disappointed we all are with the news of the Smithwicks Experience closure. I asked that they consider giving us the building so we can keep the doors open, ensuring that our story of over 800 years of brewing history in Kilkenny will continue to be told to locals and visitors alike.

"It was a very positive conversation and I believe that Diageo are open to this discussion so I'm hopeful that such a suggestion will be considered favourably. I have followed up that discussion with an email and have requested a meeting with Diageo representatives which they have agreed to. I look forward to meeting with them and I will continue to campaign for the retention of that building and for the Smithwicks Experience to continue to be an offering as an attraction in Kilkenny.

"I also believe that the Smithwicks family should be part of discussions regarding the future of the site as it is their family history as much as it is part of Kilkennys history. Its an important story and part of our fabric in Kilkenny and we should do all we can to protect it," he added.

The Caothaoirleach  commended the Chair of Kilkenny City and County vintners, Anthony Morrisson and President of Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce, Colin Ahern for their efforts.

"We are all on the same page here and will continue to fight to keep the Smithwicks Experience open.

"My suggestion about the building being gifted to the council is a last resort. The ideal situation would be if Diageo reconsidered closing the Smithwicks Experience and of course I'm asking them to do that and I'm fully supportive of our vintners in that regard.

"However if they are adamant that they will pull out of Kilkenny, then whatever we can do to keep the doors open and our 800 year brewing history alive, should be done."

An online petition calling on the Smithwick's Experience to be saved is also gaining momentum. 

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