Guinness Open Gate Brewery
aka the only Guinness brewery stateside, celebrated its first 365 days on this earth on Saturday. It’s impressive, really: the entire facility has multiple buildings, they have a restaurant, they brewed 80 experimental beers this year alone, have two women in leadership positions on a six person team, employ Marylanders and Baltimorians, pulled in 400,000 tourists from all over the globe and stimulated the local economy. By the way, they’re just getting started.
I was there to raise a pint during the toast, was there to try their a m a z i n g grand cru (review coming soon!), and was there to dance the night away with Frankie Ballard. It was a ton of fun, and it was so great to see the courtyard space and all of the accessible spots of the brewery be utilized for its exact purpose: to celebrate life with good friends and good beer. The staff was incredibly friendly, even while they were slammed.
In this world or constant party and celebration invites, it can be easy to write off a mid-summer brew-fest. The Guinness brand definitely helped bring a lot of people to the factory over the course of their first year, but the experimental brews made them lifelong fans. To have all of these locals show up for their first-year anniversary party is proof of their impeccable work in the experimental and craft-beer realm.
I hope Guinness’s corporate leaders are proud of the team here in Baltimore because they do justice to the brand: simultaneously keeping their standards high for experiments and staying true to the original recipes. And to that end, I hope that we as Marylanders, Baltimorians, and Americans realize how incredible it is that this mega-brand decided to set up shop in our backyard. The brand’s choice to place their latest factory here in the United States (and in BALTIMORE no less) shows that Guinness, as a beer industry leader, has a willingness to move forward with the times and embrace the craft beer movement that has taken off. They are getting ahead of the game because that desire for a drink that’s different is moving rapidly across the world.
Happy birthday, Guinness Open Gate! I can’t wait to raise more drinks to you year after year after year. Cheers and Slainte!