Guinness Brewing is Closing Their Maryland Production Facility

Guinness Brewing is Closing Their Maryland Production Facility

Guinness Baltimore Open Gate Brewery

Guinness Brewing is Shutting Down Halethorpe Maryland’s Production Facility

Guinness owner Diageo will be closing the Guinness production facility in Halethorpe, Maryland. They opened the facility just three years ago in 2020.

The closure will not impact the Guinness Open Gate Brewery tap room and restaurant, also in Halethorpe. It will continue brewing beers to serve at the tap room in its. They are maintaining their 10-barrel innovation brewery on the ground floor of the visitor center that they use for ‘experimental ales’.

This all coming after announcements of Guinness Brewing opening a Chicago facility and brewery. (Read more here: Guinness Brewing Planning on Opening a Chicago Brewery.)

The closing of the facility in Baltimore will result in around 100 employee lay – offs. Diageo stated the reasoning for the closure is that the Halethorpe / Baltimore facility is “underutilized and unnecessary”.

“This decision will not impact our hospitality operations at the Guinness Open Gate Brewery taproom and restaurant. We have been part of the Baltimore community for many years and will continue to be active member through our work at the Guinness Open Gate Brewery, contributing to local tourism and the economy, and supporting local charitable organizations.”

Diageo About the Closing

The Production Facility’s Closing

Guinness Brewing in Baltimore at Night

The company said the closure will not impact its popular Guinness Open Gate Brewery taproom and restaurant also located in Halethorpe.  

The London based parent company, Diageo, released a statement on the closure. “After careful consideration and analysis of our supply footprint, we have made the difficult decision to permanently close our manufacturing facility in Relay, Maryland,”  Diageo said.  

Customers who frequent the company’s taproom and restaurant in Baltimore have not to worry, as Diageo says the closure of the manufacturing plant will not impact operations at the Open Gate Brewery.  

Owner of Guinness Open Gate Brewery closing manufacturing facility in Baltimore County

For many in Baltimore this comes as… not so shocking news. Stating the tap room’s decline in quality, issues with staffing, slow wait times, and differences in ordering and receiving drinks due to COVID – 19 protocols.

A taproom, a 270-seat restaurant and a smaller innovation brewery, which employ about 100 people, will remain open, according to a statement from Diageo, the beverage company that owns Guinness, one of the beer market’s most recognizable names, and liquor brands such as Johnnie Walker, Tanqueray, Baileys and Smirnoff.

The Relay plant was Guinness’ first brewing operation in the United States since the 1950s. The facility on the site of a former Seagram’s bottling plant was hailed as a key economic engine for the area, opening five years ago with the taproom and restaurant. The taproom has served more than 1.3 million visitors since opening, the company said.

The manufacturing plant is expected to close by June, the company said. After that, the brewery’s flagship Baltimore Blonde will be brewed at other locations. A company spokeswoman said Diageo is evaluating options to continue production of the beer.

Guinness beer brewing plant will shut down at site of Open Gate Brewery in Baltimore County

Baltimore Blonde

The biggest questions (and concerns) about the closure is what will become of the Baltimore Blonde Ale that Guinness has been making since opening the facility.

(Some online have been joking that it will become the Chicago Blonde Ale.)

Left in doubt is the future of Baltimore Blonde, the lager whose logo includes a Maryland flag, that Guinness began brewing in Relay in 2017 and has since become a popular offering everywhere from Camden Yards to local stores. It was originally called Guinness Blonde American Lager before the name was switched to represent Charm City.

Baltimore County officials say they want to keep the brew’s production local, and have reached out to area breweries to see if there’s a way to have them take it over.

The goal is to keep Baltimore Blonde from going the way of Natty Boh, which has long been symbolic of the region despite being manufactured elsewhere since the 1990s. “We’d hate for that to be the situation here,” said Sameer Sidh, deputy administrative officer of economic development and infrastructure for Baltimore County. “We’re exploring all options to keep Baltimore Blonde here. We’re going to turn over every stone that we can to keep Baltimore Blonde in Baltimore County.”

As Guinness manufacturing plant closes, officials scramble to keep Baltimore Blonde local

Guinness Brewing hasn’t declared a word yet on the eventual fate of the Guinness Baltimore Blonde Ale.

The closure is due to happen in June, so an answer should be provided by then.

For More News on the Closure

For more news on the closure from news outlets, you can read the following news articles:

Guinness Baltimore

The following information comes from Untappd. Guinness Open Gate Brewery is a macro brewery and a Subsidiary of Guinness, in Halethorpe, MD United States. They have 319 unique beers and over 174,000 ratings with a global average rating of 3.73 (as of 4.5.23). Their Untappd description reads: “The first Guinness brewery on American soil for over 60 years, the Guinness Open Gate Brewery is the home of Guinness Blonde Lager and the birthplace of new Guinness beers. Proudly brewing in Maryland.” Untappd – Guinness Open Gate Brewery.

You can follow them on their social media pages here:

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Thanks For Reading

This makes several recent closing articles on the blog (even if some are ‘temporary’). Do I think the craft beer market bubble is about to burst? No. But I do think 2023 is going to be a rougher year for many breweries, and we’ll see who all will stand the test of time.

It is a very competitive market, with lots of great breweries making lots of great beer, as well as good food, and fun environments. So its taking more and more for breweries to stand out, and with the economy, consumers have less and less money as well.

There’s a lot of interesting forces at play right now affecting the craft beer market. I don’t think its all gloom and doom however.

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Currently right now we are in the Finals of our Battle of the Breweries (2023). You can check out the final four breweries left in the Finals Fatal Four Way here and vote:

In the upcoming two weeks I am going to do a more thorough look at the full tournament, breaking down the votes and how well each conference winner did. I will also do a full write up on each of the breweries in the Finals Fatal Four Way too, where I will list what articles we’ve done about them, and my visits to each of those places.

We are currently starting to work on creating maps of all the breweries in each state, starting geographically with Maine. So be on the lookout for these great resources to soon be popping up on the blog. Hoping to get a state done every 2 – 4 days. (Some will be quicker and easier than others, but 50 states, plus Washington D.C., will certainly take some time!)

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Cheers All!

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