CORK, Ireland -- Brewing giant Heineken is considering a proposal to redevelop Ireland’s oldest brewery, Beamish & Crawford, in Cork as a tourist center similar to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.
A heritage group set up to save the South Main Street brewery complex in the city center held what it described as “a very fruitful meeting” with the directors of Heineken yesterday at Heineken’s Cork headquarters.
Heineken Ireland announced in December its intention to close the brewery, with the resultant loss of 120 jobs. A committee comprising representatives of three heritage groups has since been set up in an effort to save the brewery building with its distinctive mock-Tudor facade.
National Conservation and Heritage Group chairman Damien Cassidy was part of the delegation that met with Heineken directors yesterday. He said the company had promised to “give close consideration to a sensitive development of the site” during a very positive meeting.
Cassidy said the delegation was taken on a tour of Murphy’s brewery and was impressed by the way in which Heineken had restored the historic building since it took over the company 10 years ago.
He said Beamish would continue brewing at the Cork site until March and the heritage group had asked Heineken to then consider transforming the property into a visitor center and microbrewery.
“The Beamish & Crawford brewery is either 300 or 400 years old. Nobody can be sure but it’s certainly the oldest brewery in Ireland,” he said.
The Cork Lord Mayor Cllr Brian Bermingham already has endorsed proposals for a heritage or tourism complex at the site.
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