Beer slump hurts Guinness plans

It has been two decades since a major brewery has been built in either Ireland or the United Kingdom. Now, because of the global slump in beer sales, a planned new Guinness brewey outside Dublin probably won't be built.

Diageo, owner of Guinness, had announced plans for an $855 million brewery complex last spring as part of restructuring the historic St. James's Gate brewery in Dublin.

However, on Monday the company said it is reevaluating the plans.

“The world has changed,” the company said. “We want to pause for breath.”

Diageo, which also brews such beer brands as Carlsberg and Heineken under license in Ireland, said the review would take several months. Among its options: building a smaller new brewery, delaying construction until the economic climate improves, or scrapping the plans altogether.

Diageo, which also owns beer brands such as Harp and Kilkenny as well as Guinness, brews about one-third of its beer in Ireland, shipping much of it to North American markets as well as supplying Ireland and the UK.

The company declined to comment on whether plans to close Irish breweries in Kilkenny and Dundalk as part of the St. James’s Gate restructuring would be scrapped.

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