Emmi buys US cheese company

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

Emmi is expanding in the US with the acquisition of the California artisan cheese company, Cowgirl Creamery Corporation.
Emmi is expanding in the US with the acquisition of the California artisan cheese company, Cowgirl Creamery Corporation.

Related tags: Cheese, Milk

Swiss dairy company Emmi has entered into a merger with the US cheese company Cowgirl Creamery Corporation and the associated Tomales Bay Foods, based in Petaluma, California.

Emmi said that it will take full control of Tomales Bay Foods and the Cowgirl Creamery Corporation by the end of May 2016.

This will enable Emmi to strengthen its position in sustainably-produced organic cow’s milk speciality cheeses in the US, the company statement said.

The company currently generates 44 % of its sales outside of Switzerland, one-third through exports and two-thirds through products made locally by Emmi subsidiaries.

Emmi has continually increased its sales and earnings in the US, which it says is its most important international market.

Company produces artisan cheeses

Tomales Bay Foods and the Cowgirl Creamery Corporation were founded in 1997 by Sue Conley and Peggy Smith in Point Reyes, California.

cowgirl2
Cowgirl Creamery Corporation produces a variety of cheese in California.

The product portfolio of traditionally-produced specialties includes soft, semi-hard and aged artisan cheeses. All products included in the range are organic, with the milk used for processing sourced from Marin and Sonoma counties in northern California.

Cowgirl Creamery has two retail locations, at the San Francisco Ferry Building and in Point Reyes Station. They also operate an online store, which offers cheese from the US, UK and other European countries.

New production facility

Emmi North American subsidiaries and holdings:

  • Emmi USA
  • Emmi Roth USA (partner since 2006, acquired 2009)
  • Cypress Grove Chevre (US, acquired 2010)
  • The Icelandic Milk and Skyr Corporation (US, 22% holding since 2013)
  • Cheese business of J.L. Freeman (Canada, acquired 2015)
  • Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery (US, acquired 2015)
  • Cowgirl Creamery Corporation/Tomales Bay Foods (US, acquired 2016)

The acquisition adds to other Emmi subsidiaries in the state, Cypress Grove Chevre and Redwood Hill, and Emmi CEO Urs Riedener said this, “will form a powerful network for extraordinary dairy products in California.”

In an open letter posted on the Cowgirl Creamery website, Conley and Smith noted that “we will be able to build a new production facility in Petaluma very soon, and look forward to being able to bring back Cottage Cheese to our stable.”   

Companies to remain separate

Both companies will continue to operate as separate entities on the market. Conley and Smith will remain at the company as managing directors, president and vice-president.

In 2015, Tomales Bay Foods and Cowgirl Creamery generated combined annual sales of more than $20m and employed 95 people.

The parties have not disclosed the purchase price.

Related topics: Manufacturers, Consolidation, Cheese

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