Commonly known for its iconic dark stout and its proud Irish heritage, Guinness is ready to change things up as it re-enters the U.S. brewing scene. Today, the company officially opens doors to a brewery in Baltimore County, marking the first time the company has had a brewery in the U.S. since 1954. The brewery, called the Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House, occupies facilities in Southern Baltimore County once used in the production of Lord Calvert Whiskey.
The site, which also includes a 270-seat restaurant, is expected to host more than 300,000 visitors in its first year of operation. When fully operational, it will employ more than 200 people.
The signature Guinness Draught Stout is available on tap at the U.S. location, but will continue to be imported from Ireland. Instead of making its signature stout, the Baltimore County brewery will focus on making the Guinness Blonde American Lager. Catering to the tastes of modern beer drinkers, who increasingly seek out specialized craft beer, Guinness’ U.S. location will also focus on creating experiential beers.
Ryan Wagner, Guinness brand ambassador told USA Today that the core mission of the brewery in Maryland is to allow Guinness “to become a bigger part of the American craft beer industry, to have a place for innovation and creativity for Guinness in the states.”
According to the company website, having a U.S. location puts Guinness closer to the action in the thriving U.S. market and able to understand and respond to trends more quickly, as well as brew smaller batches and get them to market faster.
The company is enthused by the dynamic Baltimore region and booming beer scene in Maryland, saying: “The brewing industry in Maryland is growing fast with several notable breweries making a name for themselves locally and nationally. We hope we can help the industry prosper and achieve the recognition we think it deserves.”
As of 2017, 73 craft breweries called Maryland home, and collectively they produce 293,298 barrels of beer per year, or two gallons for every adult above age 21. Maryland’s craft brewing industry is complemented by an equally flourishing wine and distilling industries. Learn more about the craft beverage industry in Maryland.