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Diageo unveils plans to construct Guinness microbrewery and culture hub in London

Published:  31 January, 2022

Multinational drinks firm Diageo is to invest £73 million in building a Guinness at Old Brewer’s Yard attraction, incorporating a new microbrewery and culture hub in Covent Garden.

Old Brewer’s Yard has a proud history of beer making, having been first opened in 1722. However, the long-abandoned site now comprises a number of historic brewery buildings within the Covent Garden Conservation Area, eight of which are Grade II listed.

The owner of the Guinness brand is hoping to build on the success of the Guinness Storehouse attraction in Dublin, and the opening of Johnnie Walker Princes Street in Edinburgh in 2021.

According to a representative from the company, “it demonstrates Diageo’s confidence in London and the UK as a go-to destination for tourists and its commitment to the hospitality sector, which employs almost two million people in the UK. Guinness sales in Great Britain have grown by over 30% in the last six months and one in every 10 pints sold in London is now a Guinness.”

The new 50,000 square feet venue will create up to 150 jobs in the capital and provide a community space within the Covent Garden area.

The site will also become the southern UK hub of Diageo’s award-winning Learning for Life Bartending and Hospitality Programme. The programme has provided skills and improved the employability and livelihoods of over 5,500 people across the UK to date. The ambition is for over 100 London based students to graduate from the ‘Guinness at Old Brewer’s Yard’ programme each year, with a proportion of the employment opportunities to be ring-fenced for Learning for Life graduates.

In addition, the project will be carbon neutral by 2030 and “accessible to all when it opens”. Key to the new site will be a community programme, details of which will be designed following a consultation period with local residents.

The attraction is set to open in autumn 2023, subject to planning permission and consultation period.

Dayalan Nayager, MD of Diageo Great Britain, commented: “We’re excited to create a new home for Guinness in the heart of London. Guinness at Old Brewer’s Yard will strengthen London’s hospitality community and be a must-visit destination for thousands of visitors to enjoy."

“Government support over the last two years has been vital for pubs and bars. Coming out of the pandemic, the long-term vitality of the trade will be significantly helped by the alcohol duty review and continued freezes in duty.”

After visiting Old Brewer’s Yard, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, added: “This multi-million-pound investment is a crucial vote of confidence in our capital. Three hundred years after brewing the first beer in Old Brewers Yard, it’s fantastic to see Guinness breathing life into our hospitality and tourism industries and creating more jobs and training opportunities in central London.”

The Guinness brand was established in 1759, when Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease on St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin.