Beer lovers, rejoice: The British conglomerate that owns Guinness is eyeing the historic community of Relay, Md., as the site of a new brewery on U.S. soil.
According to a release from Diageo, which also owns Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker and more than a dozen other popular booze brands, the company plans to build a “mid-sized” brewery in the Baltimore County town just south of Arbutus.
The taproom would feature “new Guinness beers created for the US market” and would be attached to a so-called “innovation experience” facility, according to the release. Guests would be able to test experimental beers in the taproom, tour the brewery and buy Guinness merch at the store.
Diageo previously ran a production facility in Relay but closed it in in 2015. The proposed Guinness brewery would build upon that structure, formerly the historic Calvert Distillery. Once finished, it would bring an estimated 70 jobs to the county, 40 of them through brewing, warehousing and packaging positions and 30 of them through jobs in the touring facility.
Diageo’s Open Gate brewery in Dublin is world-famous among beer lovers. Tom Day, president of Diageo Beer Company USA, said in the company’s release, “Given the success of our Open Gate Brewery in Dublin and the popularity of beer tourism in the US, we are confident that Americans will welcome the opportunity to come experience Guinness brewing in Baltimore County.”
As Guinness lovers grow excited about having an outpost for their favorite stout close to home, Maryland’s elected officials are celebrating a potential economic boon to the county and state.
“Beer tourism attracts millions of visitors to towns and communities across the country every year and I look forward to welcoming Guinness to the roster of excellent breweries we have here in Maryland,” said Gov. Larry Hogan in a statement.
“The brewery and tap house has all the hallmarks to become a popular tourist destination and will be a perfect complement to our local craft breweries,” added Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz in a statement.
The company hopes to begin construction this spring and open the brewery by the fall to coincide with the 200-year anniversary of the first U.S. import of the Irish stout. The opening would also end a 63-year drought of Guinness operating a brewery in the United States.