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Diageo to shut bottling operations at $50m plant

Only three years after a US$50m dollar renovation, Diageo is set to close its bottling plant in Maryland, US, which it describes as “significantly underutilised”.

Diageo has closed down a “significantly underutilised” bottling plant in Relay, Maryland

Bottling operations at the Relay site will begin closing by the end of next month, while employees will retain their roles until the end of August.

Opened in 2012, Diageo spent US$50 on opening blending and packaging facility Relay Operations, which bottled brands including Jose Cuervo Tequila – which Diageo ceased distributing in 2012 following unsuccessful negotiations to fully acquire the brand.

At the time of its opening, Relay Operations was described as one of Diageo’s most efficient processing facilities globally, with capacity to produce approximately 11m cases per year.

The renovated site featured three new high-speed bottling lines and upgrades to key production areas.

“Diageo continually reviews its supply chain to ensure that our network is operating in a right-sized, optimal manner,” a statement from the group read. “The latest review of our North American spirits packaging sites shows our Relay, MD site is significantly underutilised.

“Following a comprehensive analysis of business and market factors, we have decided to cease bottling operations there in order to help optimise our supply footprint.

“While we are still working to finalise many of the details about this decision, we expect we will be winding down bottling operations at Relay by the end of July. We anticipate we will keep people in their roles until the end of August.

In 2012, Diageo reported that Relay Operations employed 140 people. It is thought that some workers will remain in the plant’s processing and warehousing departments.

It was revealed in March this year that Diageo’s Indian drinks arm United Spirits had shut down a manufacturing plant in West Bengal.

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