Diageo has thrown into doubt plans for a new €650m brewing facility after the drinks giant announced it was reviewing the investment in response to the burgeoning recession.
The new facility in Leixlip – the town that hosted the Guinness maker's first brewery, opened in 1755 – was scheduled to open in 2013, with sites in Kilkenny and Dundalk closing.
However, plans for the new site have now been put on ice as the company reconsiders its investment in the wake of the economic slowdown.
The company said in a statement: "As a result of the current difficult global economic situation, which affects both Ireland and the main international markets to be served by the new operations, Diageo has decided to conduct a re-evaluation of this brewing investment programme.
"The evaluation is expected to run for several months and the outcome will be communicated to staff and other stakeholders as soon as possible."
Meanwhile, Japanese brewer Kirin is set to expand its stake in San Miguel Brewery. Kirin already retains a 20% stake in the brewery's parent company, San Miguel Corporation, which has recently signalled a shift in strategy to diversify beyond its core food and drink market.