Plans for €200m Newbridge brewery on hold after objector says it should be in Athy

Plans For €200M Newbridge Brewery On Hold After Objector Says It Should Be In Athy
The plant would become Diageo’s second-largest brewery in Ireland after St James’s Gate when fully operational
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Seán McCárthaigh

Plans for a new €200 million brewery by drinks group Diageo in Newbridge, Co Kildare, have been put on hold following an appeal against the project by an individual who believes the new facility should be located in Athy.

The objector, John Lynch, has lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála against the recent decision of Kildare County Council to grant planning permission for the proposed new brewery.


The local authority approved Diageo’s plans in March to develop the new production plant on a 21.3-hectare greenfield site at the IDA Newbridge Business and Technology Park at Littleconnell, Newbridge, close to Lidl’s regional distribution centre on the eastern outskirts of the town.

The company said its proposed new, state-of-the-art, sustainable and efficient plant, which will become Diageo’s second-largest brewery in Ireland after St James’s Gate when fully operational, would brew various lagers and ales including brands such as Rockshore, Harp, Hop House 13, Smithwick’s, Kilkenny and Carlsberg.

The transfer of the production of such brands to Newbridge will also allow its St James’s Gate brewery in Dublin to increase production of Guinness to meet global demand for the drink.

'Malting barley capital of Ireland'

Mr Lynch has argued that the location of the new brewery should be moved on environmental grounds to Athy which he claimed was “the malting barley capital of Ireland.”


He maintained such a change would eliminate the need for over 800 lorry journeys each year to transport barley from Athy to the site at Littleconnell and save Diageo over €6.6 million per annum in the process.

Mr Lynch also expressed concern about plans to extract water from a bore hole near the proposed plant and to divert a local stream to facilitate the development because of the potential impact on the nearby River Liffey as well as the water table of The Curragh.

In a submission, he claimed Athy has the only malting barley plant in the country as well as the only can factory.

Mr Lynch said no other town could reduce the distance from “field to can or keg” by a greater amount and in such an environmentally friendly manner.


However, Diageo said it had considered six alternative sites in Dublin and Kildare including at its main brewery at St James’s Gate which had been discounted because of potential risk factors.

The company said it had chosen the Newbridge location because it had sufficient space on IDA lands with direct access to the M7 motorway and the availability of water, while also being at a distance from sensitive receptors.

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According to documents filed with the planning authorities, the new brewery will provide up to 1,000 jobs during the construction phase, although a maximum of 400 staff at any one time as well as 70 full-time jobs when the plant is fully operational.

The plans provide for a 9,148m² main brewing plant which will include a brew house, storage facilities, control rooms and 92 storage vessels ranging in height up to 23.3 metres.

Other new buildings being developed include a renewable heating plant, wastewater treatment plant and waste storage facility.

A ruling by An Bord Pleanála on the appeal is expected in the autumn.

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