- December 27, 2017
In October of 1817, eight hogsheads of porter (A Hogshead is roughly 62 U.S. gallons of beer, or 2 modern barrels of beer) were exported from Dublin to Charleston, South Carolina – and beer in America was never quite the same. “It’s an understatement to say that we’re incredibly excited to celebrate 200 years in the U.S.,” says Guinness Brewery Ambassador Chris McClellan. “We’re grateful to see so many Guinness fans out there, 200 years after that first shipment.”
While the name Guinness conjures an image of a creamy, dark stout fresh off the tap, McClellan explains why his brewery is so much more than that – “The term ‘innovation’ is used a lot these days, and I don’t want it to get too watered down. Innovation can certainly come from producing interesting new beers, but we’re focused on pushing the needle in other ways as well, and this has really helped shape our legacy and heritage.”
Thankfully, Guinness’ legacy and heritage will be tied to America for centuries to come! Its new, state-of-the-art brewery in Maryland will be a hub of innovation here in the states. “Guinness has been in America for so long, it only makes sense for us to have an actual, physical home for our brewery stateside,” says McClellan.
So what else is on the docket for Guinness in 2018? It’s going to be an exciting year, and McClellan gave Heady Times an exclusive peek behind the curtain.
- The new Maryland brewery will be called the Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House. The facility will offer a full consumer experience. As a production brewery, it will be the home of Guinness Blonde American Lager.
- The brewery is investing $70 million into the project, which will create at least 70 new jobs.
- The Guinness brewers at Open Gate will work closely with the Maryland brewing community, showcasing some unique collaborations in the near future.
- Guinness has already assembled a world-class brewing team for their new facility. “We’ve hired Hollie Stephenson (formerly of Highland Brewing in Asheville, NC) who will take up the mantle of Head Brewer and Peter Wiens (a former Brewmaster at Stone’s Richmond brewery) as our Brewmaster,” says McClellan.
- Last year Guinness donated $100,000 to hurricane relief in Houston through their Give A ’Stache Campaign, which will be returning in 2018.
- Speaking of that famous Guinness ’stache, “A good foam ’stache means you’re drinking your pint correctly,” says McClellan. “You have to drink underneath the foam to get the proper ratio of creamy, delicious stout and aromatic, bitter foam.”
- “We were one of the first breweries, if not the first, to successfully export beer to most of the globe,” says McClellan. They were also one of the first companies in the world to offer their employees healthcare, lodging and continuing education.
- Their new Maryland-based Open Gate Brewery is not their first facility in America. McClellan says, “We actually opened our first facility in the U.S.in the late 1940s in Long Island City, Queens, NY. Most people don’t know that. That facility shut down by 1955, but Maryland will be our triumphant return.”
- St. Patrick’s Day 2018 promises to be the biggest yet! “We’re going to have as much fun as possible! And of course, we’ll be doing it responsibly,” says McClellan. “We’ll be including more events, POS and a healthy amount of media coverage. It will be hard to top last year’s efforts, but I think we can do it.”
- The Maryland brewery is still under construction, but the test taproom is now open. McClellan encourages Guinness fans to, “make sure to stop by if you’re in the Baltimore area. While we’re always focused on our core portfolio of stouts, there will be some big surprises coming out of the new tasting room.”