by Hank Sims
One of the biggest success stories in local manufacturing -- Arcata's Cypress Grove Chevre -- has been bought by the Swiss giant Emmi, according to reports reeling off the food industry news tickers this morning.
Emmi said it plans to continue its growth, focusing in particular on the Italian, German, Austrian, UK and US markets, and that the acquisition of Cypress Grove is an "important step in this direction".
Based in Arcata, California, Cypress Grove Chèvre is a US manufacturer of ripened goat's cheese specialties in the premium segment.
Urs Riedener, CEO of Emmi, said: "Cypress Grove Chèvre's premium cheese specialties will be an ideal complement to our US product range. The expanded product line will allow us to strengthen our position in our largest foreign market, the US."
The Arcata Eye has reassuring words for people who might be concerned about the acquisition:
Cypress Grove Sales Manager Bob McCall said that the Arcata Bottom manufacturing facility, which directly employes more than 40 people, will continue to operate and even be upgraded soon. He said Emmi appreciates Cypess Grove’s unique culture, and won’t dilute the brand.
“Humboldt Fog will be made in Humboldt County and Cypress Grove stays in Arcata,” McCall said. “We’re kind of the jewel in their crown.”
UPDATE: Click through for Cypress Grove's press release.
CYPRESS GROVE CHEVRE FINDS LIKE-MINDED PARTNER IN SWISS-BASED EMMI
Northern California Cheesemaker Will Maintain Current Leadership and Location Under New Ownership
Arcata, CALIF. (August 20, 2010) - Cypress Grove Chevre Founder Mary Keehn announced today her company has been purchased by Emmi Holding (USA) Inc. For Cypress Grove Chevre, maker of award-winning goat cheeses since 1983, operations will continue with their current leadership and in the same location in Humboldt County, California.
Emmi, founded as a dairy owned cooperative in 1907, is the largest milk processor in Switzerland. Emmi-Roth Käse USA is a leading manufacturer, importer and marketer of high-end specialty cheeses and fresh dairy products.
"We have been approached several times in recent years by companies that wanted to purchase us, but it was never the right time or fit" said Keehn. "In Emmi we have found a partner that shares our values and commitment to quality and offers us the resources to invest in our creamery, our employees and our local farms. We will be able to continue doing what we do well and even improve in the areas of quality and innovation."
"Together we have more opportunities for growth and success," said Fermo Jaeckle, CEO of Emmi-Roth Käse USA. "As cheese makers, we are committed to American-made artisan cheeses, and goat cheeses have played a leading role in the remarkable growth of this category."
Keehn said that ensuring a successful future for Cypress Grove was first and foremost in her mind when making the decision to sell the company she started, nurtured and grew to become one of the most highly regarded goat cheese brands in the US.
"It was a difficult, but very good decision for the future of the company, our employees, the local farms and the quality of our products," said Keehn, who will be able to spend more time exploring new styles of cheeses and developing new products. "I have so many ideas, but we've been limited by time and resources. This infusion of expertise and capital will allow us to explore new avenues and grow in a healthy manner."
About Cypress Grove Chevre (www.cypressgrovechevre.com)
Cypress Grove Chevre is the leading producer of fine American goat cheese including the top-selling American artisanal classic, Humboldt Fog. Founded in 1983 by Mary Keehn, Cypress Grove continues a tradition of innovation by introducing original American cheeses to the marketplace, such as Truffle Tremor and new Herbs de Humboldt. Based in Humboldt County, CA, where the Redwoods meet the Pacific, Cypress Grove's award-winning family of products can be found at fine retail outlets and restaurants across the country. Cypress Grove's mission is to provide its customers with an innovative and unique selection of cheeses while taking care of its employees, community, dairies and the environment.
Emmi Group is the largest Swiss milk processor and one of the most innovative premium dairies in Europe. In Switzerland. Emmi focuses on the development, production and marketing of a full range of dairy and fresh products as well as the production, ageing and trade of primarily Swiss cheeses. Outside Switzerland, Emmi concentrates on brand concepts and specialities in European and North American markets. The primary focus in fresh products is on lifestyle, convenience and health products. In the cheese business, Emmi positions itself as the leading company worldwide for cheese from Switzerland. Emmi's customers are primarily the retail trade, the food service sector and the food industry. In 2009, Emmi achieved net sales of CHF 2.62 billion and employed some 3,525 people (full-time equivalents) in Switzerland and abroad.
About Emmi Roth Käse USA
Emmi Roth Käse USA is the largest subsidiary of Emmi Group and strives to be the leading artisan cheese and premium fresh dairy provider. Emmi-Roth Käse USA offers a wide range of award-winning cheeses and specialty dairy products like Swiss Premium Yogurt and Caffe Latte, Emmi's chilled coffee drink made with fresh roasted coffee and the finest milk. The cheese assortment ranges from imported specialties from Switzerland and other European countries to artisan cheeses crafted with pride in the heart of America's Dairyland. Emmi Roth Käse USA delivers the highest quality products with unique taste experiences primarily to the US retail and food service customers.