Smithwick announce major Heritage & Tourism Initiative for Kilkenny

PRESS RELEASE
Smithwick's Brewery

SMITHWICK’S ANNOUNCE MAJOR HERITAGE AND TOURISM INITIATIVE FOR KILKENNY

€3 MILLION TO BE INVESTED INTO THE SMITHWICK’S EXPERIENCE KILKENNY

Monday, 10th June 2013: Smithwick’s today announced a €3 million investment project for Kilkenny that will see a major transformation of the existing Smithwick’s Visitor Centre into a state of the art visitor experience, ensuring the home of Ireland’s original craft beer can be enjoyed by visitors for many years to come. The Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny will be a testament to the significant role that the St. Francis Abbey Brewery and the people of Kilkenny played in shaping over 300 years of heritage, tradition and its influence on Irish cultural life. Welcoming the announcement, Gary Breen, Head of Operations for Fáilte Ireland in the South East said: “Fáilte Ireland, along with the local authority, is making a multi-million Euro tourism investment in Kilkenny as we believe that the city has a strong tourism future with great potential to grow visitors, revenue and jobs in the region. Smithwick’s have obviously recognised this and the significant investment they have announced today will deliver a state of the art visitor centre which will complement our work to grow local tourism and, as an exciting and hands-on attraction, has the potential of becoming a major magnet for increased tourist numbers to the south east”. Over the next nine months, the Victorian brewing building at St Francis Abbey Brewery, Kilkenny will be transformed into a state of the art interactive visitor centre. The Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny will be a sensory, tactile visitor experience that immerses you in Ireland’s oldest beer brand; the history, the brewing craft, the future and ultimately, tasting the pint. Visitors will be able to experience the medieval origins of brewing on the site to the arrival of the amazing John Smithwick. They will discover the Kilkenny-Smithwicks connections through the years with interactive installations bringing the story right up to date. The €3 million investment will be a major boost for the tourism potential of Kilkenny and its catchment area. Through promotion, marketing and the natural pulling power of an iconic brand, it is envisaged that the Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny will welcome thousands of visitors each year. It is estimated that 40 jobs will be created during the construction phase of the project and approximately 12 when the Centre opens in spring 2014. In addition it is expected there will be significant indirect employment for the Kilkenny region once opened. Speaking at the announcement of the Smithwick’s Kilkenny Experience, Mr. Phil Hogan T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government said: “The Smithwick’s Brewery has been a central part of Kilkenny for over 300 years. It is tremendous that Diageo has agreed to acknowledge this great history and tradition by establishing this visitor centre”.Mayor of Kilkenny, Cllr. Seán Ó hArgáin expressed his delight and that of the citizens of Kilkenny at the announcement of the funding today by Diageo. ‘Firstly we are hugely thankful to Diageo for their magnificent gesture last year in selling so much of this hugely important site to the people of the city for its future development by our council. To see Diageo now decide to make a decision to develop one of the country’s leading tourism attractions at the historic heart of the Smithwick’s brewery site means that a really fundamental statement of confidence is being made by the company in the future of Kilkenny. The fact that this attraction will celebrate the central importance of the tradition of brewing in Kilkenny in a contemporary and forward-looking development is the best possible way for the next part of the history of this three hundred year old complex to commence. It will also become a key component of our plans to develop the ‘Medieval Mile’ from Kilkenny Castle to St. Canice’s Cathedral and will also we hope celebrate all that the workers of Kilkenny have contributed to our development.’ Commenting on the announcement, Mr. David Smith, Diageo Country Manager said: “Diageo’s significant €3m investment today underpins the company’s commitment to Ireland and will bring added momentum to the economic growth potential of the South-East region over the near term. This is a very significant announcement for the company and represents Diageo Ireland’s largest capital expenditure announcement since the €153 expansion and re-development of the St. James’s Gate Brewery. An investment of this scale in Kilkenny will help bring renewed confidence to the entire region – confidence to invest, confidence to spend and confidence to hire. At Diageo, we value Smithwick’s and its rich legacy. We feel that this new state-of-the-art experience in Kilkenny will honour that legacy while generating substantial local economic activity for the area.” In order to secure the long term future of brewing in Ireland, a new brewing centre of excellence is being built at St. James’s Gate in Dublin and the brewery in Kilkenny is scheduled to close at the end of 2013.

You can now visit the brewery: http://www.abbeytoursireland.com/sightseeing/442/

More information can be found here: http://www.smithwicksexperience.com

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