Based in the historic St James's Gate Brewery in Dublin 8, Diageo Ireland produces premium alcohol beverages which are enjoyed throughout the world. It is at St James's Gate where Guinness, the world's most popular stout, has been brewed for more than 250 years. In addition, Diageo Ireland has production facilities across the island. Baileys is produced in Belfast and Dublin, while the Old Bushmills Distillery is one of the oldest licensed distilleries in the world. Under licence, Diageo also brews leading international beers such as Budweiser and Carlsberg for the Irish market.
With annual exports of more than €1 billion, Diageo Ireland is one of Ireland's most important exporters in the high value-added food and beverage category. The organisation employs approximately 1,500 people in its production facilities in Ireland. In addition, up to 18,900 jobs are supported indirectly by Diageo Ireland through the purchase of inputs, goods and services.
Diageo Ireland is a significant contributor to the country's rural economy. It is estimated that the organisation's contribution to the agricultural sector is €274m per year. For example, over 90% of the barley used in production is sourced locally with Diageo production requiring more than half the malting capacity in the country. As well as this, up to 275 million litres of fresh Irish milk is used each year in the production of Baileys, the world's best-selling cream liqueur.
Diageo knows that sustainability and investment are key to long-term success, with this in mind, Diageo has made a €168 million investment in the St James's Gate Brewery which will consolidate all brewing by Diageo in Ireland at Victoria Quay, St James's Gate. On completion, St. James's Gate will be one of the most technologically advanced, environmentally sustainable breweries in the world. This is one of the largest construction projects to take place in Dublin in recent years, and has created 300 construction jobs.
Tourism is a key sector for the Irish economy, and Diageo is proud to play a role in attracting people to the island. The Guinness Storehouse is the most popular brewery experience in the world and Ireland's number one international visitor attraction. In 2012 visitor numbers surpassed over 1 million, with that figure likely to be broken in 2013. In June 2013, Diageo Ireland announced a €3m investment to turn the St Francis Abbey brewery in Kilkenny into a state-of-the-art visitor centre.
As one of the Ireland's leading companies, Diageo Ireland has a reputation for nurturing and developing staff, helping them reach their full potential. This has led to both the demand and supply side of the business receiving recognition at the 2013 Great Places to Work awards, with Diageo demand finishing in first place. Diageo Ireland also received two Green Awards in 2013 for excellence in the field of environmental sustainability.
Many of our operations have long and historical links with their local communities. Each year the company sponsors hundreds of cultural and sporting events locally and nationally. Championing innovation and entrepreneurship in Ireland the Arthur Guinness Projects, launched in June 2013, will invest €3 million over the next three years with up to 20 projects in the areas of sport, music, food and arts. The Arthur Guinness Projects can be seen as an evolution of the Arthur Guinness Fund a highly successful initiative which provided funding to over 30 social entrepreneurs between 2009 and 2013. This ongoing involvement in Irish life complements our commercial and corporate commitment to Ireland.