by Helga Weschke
Chief of Business Development
Baltimore County Department of Economic Development
Spirits are running high these days in Relay. Relay, an enclave in southwestern Baltimore County bounded by Arbutus and Ellicott City, has a tradition of whisky production going back to the late 1800s. Maryland Distillery opened the state’s first legal distillery here after Prohibition was lifted in 1933. Seagrams then bought the plant, with international spirits company Diageo taking over in 2001. Today, the plant blends and bottles 11 million cases of spirits a year.
This week, Diageo announced that it has completed a $50 million investment in the Relay facility, which employs approximately 140 people. With new bottling equipment and upgraded production facilities, the plant can now fill up to 300 bottles a minute with Jose Cuervo tequila, Captain Morgan rum, and Seagram’s whisky products. The company also announced that it would add Smirnoff vodka to the production line next spring.
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz noted that “The Relay plant has been a fixture in southwest Baltimore County for generations. Diageo’s investment is another sign that manufacturing remains a vital, growing part of Baltimore County’s economy.”
Alcohol is shipped to the plant for blending and bottling, so Baltimore County’s interconnected infrastructure and prime location were key factors in Diageo’s decision to invest in the Relay facility. The site is served by rail and is convenient to Interstate 95, the Port of Baltimore and BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. New product lines, 21st century equipment and 140 jobs. That’s enough to put anyone in high spirits.