Guinness Baltimore Blonde Beer Production Moving to New York

Guinness Baltimore Blonde Beer Production Moving to New York

Guinness Baltimore Open Gate Brewery

Guinness Baltimore is Closing and Moving the Baltimore Blonde Production to New York

Its been no secret now that the Guinness Brewery in Baltimore (Guinness Baltimore Open Gate Brewery) is closing down. There was talks of trying to keep the Baltimore Blonde beer production still in Baltimore, but looks like that won’t be happening. The Baltimore Blonde will now be produced in New York.

Diageo, the beverage company that owns Guinness, one of the beer market’s most recognizable names and one of the top twenty producers world wide, announced in April that it would shut down its beer production plant in Relay this month. The plant, which closed Friday (June 9th), is on the site of Guinness Open Gate Brewery, where a taproom, a 270 – seat restaurant and a smaller innovation brewery — all of which employ about 100 people — will remain open.

F.X. Matt Brewing Company (Saranac Brewing) which recently acquired Flying Dog Brewery will be producing Baltimore Blonde in New York.

This will add to their already increased production level. The acquisition of Flying Dog Brewery will most likely see them be put into the top ten of beer production for next year, and adding Baltimore Blonde will only mean more of an increased in beer production.

F.X. Matt Brewing Lands Baltimore Blonde

Baltimore Blonde (beer can as of time of production at the Open Gate Brewery in Baltimore)

Diageo, which also owns such liquor brands as Johnnie Walker, Tanqueray, Baileys and Smirnoff, said Wednesday that it selected FX Matt Brewing Co. in New York as its new supplier of Baltimore Blonde, with production to start in October. Diageo invited four brewers to submit proposals, including one in Maryland that the company did not identify. Only one brewer, FX Matt, submitted a bid and that proposal met Diageo’s needs.

Diageo invited four brewers to submit their proposals, including one in Maryland. Only one brewer submitted a bid: FX Matt Brewing Company, whose response aligned with the company’s business needs.

Guinness Baltimore Blonde beer production leaving Maryland for New York (PennLive)

F.X. Matt Brewing Company, known for its Saranac beer line and its Utica Club lager, which it claims was the first beer sold after Prohibition ended in 1933, said last month that it is acquiring Flying Dog Brewery (Flying Dog Brewery is based out of Frederick Maryland), and taking over Flying Dog beer production by August.

The Flying Dog Brewery announcement came amid continuing consolidation in the industry. This was also after the Cape May Brewing Company and Flying Fish Brewery merger – which has since been cancelled. Just over a week ago, Baltimore-based DuClaw Brewing Co. was acquired by River Horse Brewing Co. (based out of Ewing, New Jersey), becoming the latest Maryland craft brewery to be acquired by an out – of – state brewery.

There is certainly been a trend of consolidation, acquisitions, mergers, and closings. The craft beer “bubble” might not be bursting, but its certainly contracting.

After conducting a due diligence process, which also considered options to keep production of Baltimore Blonde in the state, the supplier that best met the business case and production timeline was FX Matt Brewing Company in New York.

A spokesperson for Diageo Beer

Diageo already has the market and distribution taken care of, as well as the production facility in Baltimore. They have stated that distribution should hold until the new production begins in New York and that the supply chain won’t break down and distributors won’t be lacking. They are also preparing for the closing of the production plant, announcing that up towards 97 employees will be laid off as their jobs become unneeded.

The Guinness Open Gate Brewery will remain open and will continue to brew a variety of experimental beers on their 10 – barrel innovation brewery on the ground floor of the visitor center.

The facility’s innovation brewing and hospitality operations are not changing in any capacity — we are open and continue to welcome visitors to our taproom.

A Diageo Spokesperson

The Relay plant had been Guinness’ first brewing operation in the United States since the 1950s. The facility on site of a former Seagram’s bottling plant was hailed as a key economic engine for the area.

Diageo opened Guinness Open Gate in August 2018, a $90 million project on a 62-acre property it had acquired in 2001 as part of its purchase of Seagram. Until 2015, Diageo had used the longtime manufacturing plant for bottling and aging Captain Morgan rum products.

The property previously had been home to Maryland Distilling Co. after Prohibition, then was used to produce several brands over the decades, including Lord Calvert Whisky.

Guinness Baltimore Blonde beer production leaving Maryland for New York (PennLive) [Lorraine Mirabella of the wrote this story. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.]

Guinness Brewing is Shutting Down Halethorpe Maryland’s Production Facility

(The following comes from our previous article here – 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”.


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.

Guinness Brewing is Closing Their Maryland Production Facility (The Beer Thrillers)

Acquisitions, Consolidations, Closings, Mergers and More

In recent months (weeks really) there has been considerable news in the craft beer industry about how its consolidating and constricting. No one is quite willing to say the bubble is bursting yet, but that it is definitely contracting in on itself.

In recent weeks, here along the East Coast, there’s been quite the shake up in mergers and acquisitions and such. First with Cape May Acquiring Flying Fish Brewery – which they then later cancelled.

Then, in a very big announcement F.X. Matt Brewing (Saranac Brewing) announced that they had acquired Flying Dog Brewery. This combined the 14th (F.X. Matt Brewing) and the 34th (Flying Dog Brewery) craft breweries of 2022 into one organization. (See: Top 50 Craft Breweries.) Flying Dog Brewery is based out of Frederick, Maryland.

Next up was River Horse Brewing acquiring DuClaw Brewing Company. River Horse Brewing is out of Ewing New Jersey, and DuClaw Brewing is out of the Baltimore / greater Maryland area.

And of course, this is all after the announcement of the Guinness Baltimore Brewery closing.

So its certainly been a time of consolidation and constriction, especially for the Maryland area breweries. But, yet, still some breweries are expanding. Black Flag is opening a second location in the Frederick area, and Cushwa Brewing is expanding as well – into the Columbia Maryland area.

So there is hope that the craft beer community is still growing, but I do fear it is certainly tightening and that things might be a bit rougher for a while before they get better.

Brewery News

Interested in finding out about many other brewery openings, new locations, closings, movings, and in general brewery news? You can check out our links below:

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