Guinness opens first US brewery in 64 years

After staying clear of the U.S for more than 60 years, iconic Irish beer maker Guinness has opened its first brewery in the United States, following an $80 million investment.

The new brewery, which opened near Baltimore on Friday, will include a visitor center, a 270-seat restaurant and a tap room. It will also create around 200 jobs for the region, Diageo, the brand’s owner said in a statement. The firm briefly owned a brewery in New York from 1949 to 1954.

"The USA is probably the most dynamic and exciting beer market in the world right now, and, put simply, we'd like to be closer to the action," Guinness said in a statement.

"Having a brewery in the USA will help us understand and respond to trends more quickly, as well as brew smaller batches and get them to market faster."

However, not all of the firm’s famous dark stouts will be brewed on site in Maryland, the company said, adding that a majority will be imported from its headquarters in Ireland instead. Some of the beer maker’s Guinness Blonde American Lager is currently being brewed under contract by City Brewing in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, but production will soon be shifted to the new facility in Maryland.

Guinness’ big move to the U.S. is an attempt to drum up sales and to woo millennials as sales for the Irish brewer have been stagnated in the U.S. in recent years as craft beers from smaller breweries have become more popular.

Guinness currently brews in 49 countries and has a brewery in Dublin, another in Malaysia and three in Africa.