Diageo bottling plant to close after 54 years


A Menlo Park facility off Highway 101 has been bottling and distributing liquor since 1957. It's owned by Diageo Global which produces a vast array of well known premium brands. The company says it made an economic decision to close the plant at the end of July. Pam Clay is among 150 people who will be out of a job, union jobs that pay between $21 and $27 an hour.

"I'm just devastated. I just can't believe how many years. I mean, I expected to retire out of here and can't," said Clay.

Menlo Park says the closure is not welcome news, especially as it makes impressive gains attracting new business. Facebook is going to shift its operations to the city starting next month.

"If we lose jobs in the face of that growth, our net gain is going to be lower and not something that is good for any of us," said Menlo Park business development manager David Johnson.

Many of Diageo's employees have worked at this plant their entire life. The union says more than 50 people have been here at least 20 years.

The company did issue a statement to ABC7 which reads in part: "Recognizing that this transition will be difficult for affected employees, Diageo is fully engaged with employee representatives to discuss support to those individuals."

Clay says right now her 36 years at the plant aren't enough to receive a pension that's triggered at age 55.

"I'm nine months short of retiring out of here and it doesn't look like I'm going to get it. It doesn't look like they are going to give it to me, so I have to leave and go do something else," said Clay.

City leaders say they are meeting with Diageo management in the next couple of weeks. The bottling plant will cease operations on July 29th.

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