Two Local Companies Picked to Design and Build Baltimore County’s New Guinness Brewery

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Courtesy Diageo USA

Baltimore County’s future Guinness brewery may be an international outpost for the brand, but it’ll be designed and built by two companies based right in Baltimore.

Diageo, Guinness’ parent company, has picked architect Design Collective and general contractor Plano Coudon Construction to build the new taproom and brewery out of the old Seagram’s distillery in Relay, Md. The brewery will be the first stateside Guinness facility built in 63 years, and is expected to draw crowds to Baltimore County’s southern end.

Plano-Coudon and Design Collective expected to compete with firms from around the country for the contract. Ryan Coudon, a partner in the general contracting company, said in a statement that landing the deal “is a culmination of several years of hard work” and shows “that we can compete head-to-head with large national builders and win work with sophisticated, global clients.”

The two firms have worked together on projects totaling more than $115 million in construction work over the last 15 years. This winter, the National Aquarium chose the duo to build its new $20 million animal care and rescue center in Jonestown, which is set to open next year.

The facility at present. Photo via Plano-Coudon Construction.

In a serendipitous twist, leaders from both companies found they all live close to the work site. Coudon, his co-partner Brett Plano, Design Collective principal Matthew Herbert and a senior project manager mapped it out and found they all reside within a five-mile radius of the old distillery on Washington Boulevard.

“I literally drive past that site on my way to and from work every day,” Plano said in a statement. “I did not want to drive past another contractor’s sign every day while this facility was built.”

For what it’s worth, Herbert is also a longtime Guinness enthusiast. He’s even stipulated in his will that he wants his ashes scattered at the brand’s flagship brewery in Dublin.

The project has been a ton of work even before construction and architecture contract bids came into the picture. State legislators had to pass a new law that quadrupled the production limit for craft breweries across the state, while notably also not screwing up smaller breweries’ serving hours.

Diageo announced earlier this month that the facility will be called the Open Gate Brewery and Barrel House. The location plans to primarily serve Guinness Blonde American Lager, while also trying out and serving other new beers. Peter Wiens, former director of East Coast operations for Stone Brewing, will be running the show as brewmaster.

All they need is a world-class facility. Design Collective and Plano-Coudon will start their work later this summer. Diageo aims to open the brewery by summer of 2018.

Ethan McLeod
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