Baltimore County News
Business-friendly approach would support large and small brewers, local bars and liquor stores
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz sent the following letter today to Senator Joan Carter Conway, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Health and Environmental Affairs, urging state lawmakers to strike a balance between large and small breweries throughout the State with House Bill 1283. The text of his letter is below:
April 3, 2017
Honorable Joan Carter Conway, Chair
Education, Health and Environmental Affairs
2 West Miller Senate Office Building
11 Bladen Street
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Re: Class 5 Breweries’ Legislation (HB 1283)
Dear Chairwoman Conway,
As you know, Diageo announced its intention to build a US version of Dublin’s popular Guinness Open Gate Brewery in southwest Baltimore County. The Company plans to build a mid-sized Guinness brewery and a Guinness visitor experience with an innovation microbrewery at the company’s Relay site. This new brewing capability and consumer experience, combined with a packaging and warehousing operation, would bring the company’s investment in Relay to approximately $50 million and create up to 70 new jobs. The new brewery would be a home for new Guinness beers created for the US market. Visitors would be able to tour the working brewery, sample experimental beers brewed on-site at the taproom, and purchase Guinness merchandise at the retail store, creating a major tourism attraction for the region.
Diageo is seeking legislative changes to accommodate their investment. Different groups have weighed in on the best way to accomplish these goals. I offer the following thoughts:
1. Increase barrels. The craft brewery industry all seem to favor an increase.
2. Allow craft breweries the right to sell their other products, even if not manufactured on site.
3. Let local law establish hours of operation. This avoids the current conflict.
We believe allowing the growth of craft breweries will enhance the demand at local bars and liquor stores. Because the selection at the taphouse is limited to beer, it will not compete with establishments offering a full selection of beverages.
Baltimore County Government supports the Diageo project in Relay as well as the craft breweries throughout the State. Thank you for your efforts to clarify this legislation.
Very truly yours,
Baltimore County Executive
cc: Honorable Members, Committee on Education, Health and Environmental Affairs
Honorable Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. President of the Senate
Honorable Michael E. Busch, Speaker of the House
Honorable Dereck Davis, Chair, Committee on Economic Matters
Honorable Members, Baltimore County Senate and House Delegation
Dwayne Kratt, Senior Director of Government Affairs at Diageo
Kevin Atticks, Executive Director of Brewers Association of Maryland
Diageo today announced its intention to build a US version of Dublin’s popular Guinness Open Gate Brewery in southwest Baltimore County. The company plans to build a mid-sized Guinness brewery and a Guinness visitor experience with an innovation microbrewery at the company’s Relay site. This new brewing capability and consumer experience, combined with a packaging and warehousing operation, would bring the company’s investment in Relay to approximately $50 million and create up to 70 new jobs.
“Beer tourism is about to boom in Baltimore County. We are thrilled that Diageo is reviving an historic building with the iconic Guinness brand. This will be a world-class tourist destination that will bring new jobs and become the perfect complement to our Maryland craft breweries,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.
The new brewery would be a home for new Guinness beers created for the US market. Visitors would be able to tour the working brewery, sample experimental beers brewed on-site at the taproom, and purchase Guinness merchandise at the retail store.
“The Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Dublin is a popular new addition to St. James’s Gate brewery and the Guinness Storehouse, one of Ireland’s top tourist destinations,” stated Tom Day, President, Diageo Beer Company USA. “We want to leverage our 250 years of brewing heritage and bring the success and excitement of the Guinness visitor experience in Ireland to Baltimore County. We believe a replication of the Open Gate Brewery in Relay will benefit residents and our industry partners, including beer distributors and on- and off-premise retailers, as well as increase overall tourism for the region.”
The project would re-establish a Guinness brewery in the US after 63 years of absence. The new brewery and visitor experience would become part of Diageo’s production facility in Relay, site of the historic Calvert Distillery which opened in 1933.
Relay was chosen as the preferred location for this project for the site’s proximity to major East Coast tourist and population hubs, availability of skilled employees, and space to build and adapt existing structures on the property.
Up to 70 new jobs expected
While specifics are still being evaluated, it is estimated that the project could generate approximately 40 jobs in brewing, warehousing and an agile packaging operation, which may include canning, bottling and kegging. The Guinness visitor experience could create approximately additional 30 jobs. A significant number of construction jobs would also be created during the building phase, and the company would endeavor to hire as many local firms as possible to conduct this work.
Tom Quirk, Chair of the Baltimore County Council whose district encompasses the Relay site, stated, “More than just a brewery, this is a significant investment in our community that represents a new direction for the historic Relay facility. This will be a strong boost for tourism, not only in the county, but the entire region.”
“This will be an exciting addition to Baltimore County’s vibrant tourism scene. Visitors will discover an authentic taproom experience in a unique, historic building,” said Hal Ashman, chair of the Baltimore County Tourism Advisory Council.
Diageo hopes to receive approvals and to begin construction this spring with the goal of opening the brewery in fall 2017 to mark the 200th anniversary of Guinness being first imported into the US.
The iconic Guinness Stouts will continue to be brewed at St. James’s Gate in Dublin, Ireland. The Guinness brand was established in 1759 when Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease on St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin.