Diageo gets the go-ahead for €200m Kildare brewery

A CGI rendering of the proposed site for Diageo's new carbon neutral brewery in Littleconnell, Newbridge, Co Kildare

Gordon Deegan

Kildare County Council has given the green light to plans by brewing giant Diageo for a new €200m brewery on a green-field site at Littleconnell, Newbridge.

The new brewery will provide a major jobs boost to the Kildare area providing up to 1,000 jobs during the 20-month construction period. It will lead to the creation of a further 70 jobs when operational.

The new facility, which will operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, on three shifts a week, is to brew lagers and ales including Rockshore, Harp, Hop House 13, Smithwick’s, Kilkenny and Carlsberg.

When fully operational with a capacity of two million hectolitres, the brewery will be the second largest brewing operation in Ireland after Diageo’s operation at St James’s Gate, and support the future growth of Diageo Ireland’s beer brands.

The carbon neutral brewery is to be built on a 21.36-hectare site at the IDA Newbridge Business and Technology Park to the east of a Lidl Distribution Centre.

The main brewery will include a brew house, storage and handling areas.

The state-of-the-art brewery will be powered with 100pc renewable energy and will harness the latest process technology to minimise overall energy and water consumption.

This will enable the brewery to avoid up to 15,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually.

It will enable St James’s Gate to increase the production of Guinness to meet global demand

As the production of lagers and ales is transferred to the new facility, it will enable St James’s Gate to increase the production of Guinness to meet global demand.

Planning documentation lodged with the application states that Guinness considered five other sites in Dublin and Kildare for the brewery but were discounted for a variety of environmental, planning and commercial reasons.

The planning documentation states that along with the 70 jobs when operational, the brewery will also indirectly provide additional jobs in sectors such as transport, maintenance and supply of goods and services.

The proposed development was the subject of a single objection.

John Lynch of Cloney, Athy, stated that the proposal for Littleconnell should be rejected and built instead in Athy on environmental grounds.

The grant of permission coincides with two major proposed developments for Diageo Ireland’s headquarters at St James Gate.

Dublin City Council has granted planning permission to Diageo to repurpose Brewhouse 2 on the site into a new Irish headquarters.

In a separate application for the Guinness Quarter plan in Dublin currently before the city council, property developer Ballymore has submitted plans to develop a 12.5-acre site that includes 336 housing units, a hotel, a 300-seat performance space, a food hall and marketplace, commercial works spaces and more than two acres of landscaped public spaces.