It has been months since Jerome I. Baylin, Montgomery County's director of liquor control, was bombarded with calls from the national media, invited to appear on the "Today" show and summoned before the County Council.
All the attention stemmed from a county marketing move, initiated last fall, to sell its own house brand of booze -- making it the first county in the nation to do so.
County officials said it was a sound business decision aimed at making the county-run liquor stores competitive with stores in neighboring jurisdictions. They said it was a boon to consumers looking for bargain-priced liquor.
Critics argued that it was wrong for the county to have as its own a product that is the most abused substance in the county.
How is the Mongomery brand, County Crest, doing? "We are still selling . . . and doing fairly well," Baylin said recently.
He said the only comments officials now receive are acceptance and the notion, "what took you so long to have a house brand?"
Baylin said some types of liquor sell better than others. Vodka is the best seller, accounting for 51 percent of the sales of the county brand. Scotch and rum tie for second, and bourbon comes in third. He said Canadian whiskey is the poorest seller.
Baylin said county officials want to wait a full year before deciding whether to continue the brand. If the pace of current sales continues, he said he thinks that County Crest will be kept on the shelves. He said, though, that some of the less popular sellers might be discontinued.
As for all the attention, Baylin said he doesn't miss it, although the publicity about County Crest, which the county doesn't advertise, did tend to boost sales.