Old Bay seasoning the slat of Maryland

Founded in 1889 by Willoughby M. McCormick, the company began in a basement in Baltimore, Maryland. Initially, McCormick & Company dealt in root beers, flavoring extracts, and fruit syrups, selling door-to-door. The enterprise blossomed into a business that would revolutionize the food industry, becoming synonymous with culinary innovation and quality spices.

Growth and Expansion

The early 20th century marked significant growth for McCormick. By 1903, the company moved to the McCormick Building at Light and Conway Streets, a location that would become a Baltimore landmark. The Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 devastated much of the city, but McCormick’s facilities survived, enabling the company to assist in the city’s recovery.

The company’s growth trajectory continued through acquisitions and the introduction of new products, including the famed Old Bay Seasoning. In 1959, McCormick moved to a large plant in Hunt Valley, north of Baltimore, to accommodate its expanding operations.

McCormick Today

Today, McCormick & Company is a global leader in flavor, operating in over 160 countries and territories. The Hunt Valley campus remains a central hub for its operations, showcasing the company’s commitment to innovation, sustainability, and community engagement. McCormick has also embraced digital transformation, utilizing technology to enhance product development and customer experiences.

Old Bay: The Salt of Maryland

Old Bay Seasoning, often described as the quintessential Maryland seasoning, has a storied history intertwined with that of McCormick. Created in the 1940s by German immigrant Gustav Brunn, Old Bay’s unique blend of 18 herbs and spices quickly became a staple in seafood cooking, particularly for seasoning crab and shrimp. McCormick acquired the brand in 1990, further solidifying its place in Maryland’s culinary heritage.

Old Bay’s distinctive yellow and blue tin has become an iconic symbol of Maryland cuisine, celebrated for its versatility and used in a variety of dishes beyond seafood, including chicken, popcorn, and even cocktails. Its enduring popularity reflects the rich culinary traditions of Maryland and McCormick’s role in promoting those flavors to the world.

McCormick’s Legacy and Future

As McCormick & Company looks to the future, it remains committed to ethical sourcing, environmental stewardship, and innovation. Its Foundation and community programs underscore a dedication to social responsibility and the well-being of the communities it serves. The company continues to explore new flavor frontiers, embracing global culinary trends while staying true to its Maryland roots.

The story of McCormick is not just a narrative of business success; it’s a testament to the power of innovation, quality, and community in building a brand that stands the test of time. From its humble beginnings in a Baltimore basement to its status as a global flavor powerhouse, McCormick’s journey is a spice-laden voyage that continues to evolve, inspire, and delight palates around the world.

Employment and Economic Impact

As one of Maryland’s most prominent businesses, McCormick & Company significantly contributes to the state’s economy. While specific employment figures may fluctuate over time, it’s well-documented that McCormick employs thousands within the state. The company’s operations span from corporate functions to research and development, manufacturing, and distribution, supporting a wide range of job functions and skill levels.

McCormick’s presence in Maryland fosters a vibrant ecosystem, supporting not just direct employment but also creating opportunities in related industries such as logistics, retail, and food services. The company’s commitment to local sourcing where possible further amplifies its economic impact, benefiting local farmers and suppliers.

McCormick’s Role Among Maryland’s Fortune 500 Firms

McCormick & Company’s stature as one of the few Fortune 500 firms headquartered in Maryland underscores its significance to the state’s business landscape. This status is not just a reflection of its financial success but also its role as a leader in corporate responsibility, innovation, and community engagement. Fortune 500 companies are often viewed as economic bellwethers, and McCormick’s inclusion in this list highlights its importance as a driver of economic stability and growth within Maryland.

The presence of Fortune 500 companies like McCormick in Maryland enhances the state’s reputation as a conducive environment for business, attracting talent and investment that benefit the wider economy. Moreover, these companies often engage in philanthropic activities, supporting local initiatives in education, health, and the environment, which further enriches the community.

Broader Economic Contributions

McCormick’s impact extends beyond direct employment and economic contributions. The company is actively involved in community engagement programs, from educational initiatives that support local schools to environmental sustainability projects. These efforts not only enhance McCormick’s corporate image but also contribute to the social and environmental well-being of Maryland.

Furthermore, McCormick’s global success brings international attention to Maryland, showcasing the state as a hub for culinary innovation and business excellence. This global footprint encourages cultural exchange and opens up new markets for Maryland products, contributing to the state’s economic diversity and resilience.


The history of McCormick Spices in Maryland is a rich tapestry woven with innovation, resilience, and a deep commitment to quality. From its early days to its current global prominence, McCormick has left an indelible mark on the culinary world. Old Bay, “the salt of Maryland,” stands as a testament to the state’s vibrant food culture and McCormick’s role in celebrating and elevating that culture on the global stage. As McCormick continues to navigate the future, its roots in Maryland remain a source of strength and inspiration, ensuring that the company’s legacy of flavor, quality, and community engagement endures for generations to come.

McCormick & Company’s presence in Maryland is a testament to the state’s vibrant economic and cultural landscape. Employing thousands and serving as one of the few Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the state, McCormick significantly impacts Maryland’s economy and community. Its global success enhances Maryland’s reputation, while its commitment to innovation, sustainability, and corporate responsibility ensures that its economic contributions are both significant and positive. As McCormick continues to grow and evolve, its role in supporting Maryland’s economy and community is likely to expand, reinforcing the state’s status as a great place to live, work, and do business.


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