Drinks giant Diageo to open Guinness microbrewery in London with £73m investment hailed as ‘vote of confidence’ in the capital
- ‘Guinness at Old Brewer’s Yard’ will be located in London’s Covent Garden
- It will comprise a microbrewery, a ‘culture hub’, a store and a rooftop restaurant
- It will cost Diageo £73m and is currently set to open in autumn next year
Microbreweries have been spreading across London for some time, with craft ales and lagers now hugely popular – and not just among bearded hipsters and connoisseurs.
So perhaps it’s no surprise that even a brewing giant like Diageo, the maker of Guinness, is throwing itself – and over £70million – into setting up one in Covent Garden, one of the capital’s tourist meccas.
The new ‘Guinness at Old Brewer’s Yard’ will be located on a historic brewing site that dates back to 1722, and comprise a microbrewery and a ‘culture hub’, where various events will be hosted.
Coming soon: The new ‘Guinness at Old Brewer’s Yard’ is set to open in autumn 2023
Diageo said it will invest £73million in the new site, which will also be home to a Guinness shop and an open-fire restaurant located on a ‘360 degrees’ glass rooftop.
Limited edition beers will be produced at the new microbrewery, where tours about the famous stout and its history will be on offer.
The 50,000 sq ft venue will also become the southern hub of Diageo’s ‘Learning for Life Bartending and Hospitality’ programme, the drinks giant said.
The space is scheduled to open in autumn 2023 and will create ‘up to’ 150 jobs, while also providing a ‘community space’ within the Covent Garden area, according to the group.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the new investment was a ‘crucial vote of confidence’ in the capital that would help ‘drive forward London’s economy as we leave Covid behind’.
‘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,’ he added.
The Guinness store will sell rare items via collaborations and bespoke partnerships
Diageo said the investment demonstrated its ‘confidence in London and the UK as a go-to destination for tourists and its commitment to the hospitality sector’.
‘We’re excited to create a new home for Guinness in the heart of London,’ said Dayalan Nayager, managing director of Diageo Great Britain.
‘Guinness at Old Brewer’s Yard’ will strengthen London’s hospitality community and be a must-visit destination for thousands of visitors to enjoy.’
He added: ‘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.’
The site will cover locations linking Mercer Walk, Langley Street, Neal Street and Shelton Street
The new site will cover locations linking Mercer Walk, Langley Street, Neal Street and Shelton Street.
Old Brewer’s Yard is owned by the Mercers’ Company, which has been working with Diageo to develop the proposals.
‘The significant level of investment is a major boost to London’s recovering economy and will provide a one-of-a-kind immersive experience, shining the spotlight on Covent Garden as a global visitor destination,’ said Rob Abernethy, chief executive of the Mercers’ Company.
It comes as Diageo, which also makes Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff vodka, cheered strong trade in Britain in the last half of 2021.
Brits especially turned to Guinness, as net sales jumped more than 30 per cent compared to the last six months of 2020.