Development Bank of Wales invests in growth of artisan cheese company
The micro loan from the Development Bank of Wales means Whittaker will be purchasing a 500-liter cheese-vat and cheese press to scale production of her soft cheeses and also start producing hard cheeses.
Castell Gwyn supplies local delis, specialty cheese shops, farm shops and restaurants, and the cheeses are also available online.
Whittaker said, “I’ve been producing and selling cheese for a few years now, having first started up at the Food Technology Centre on Anglesey, then renting a dairy in Llandudno. I have now built a bespoke micro dairy. The vision was always to build my own dairy and for Castell Gwyn to become a recognized brand.
“I produce a range of fresh, award winning soft spreadable cheeses with delicious flavours. The freshness of the milk, collected from our friends at Mostyn Dairies, makes Castell Gwyn cheese a luxury product as we use Jersey-Cross cow’s milk. This helps keep our food miles extremely low. We operate high environmental health standards and have been accredited a 5-star food hygiene rating by Denbighshire County Council and we are also in the process of gaining SALSA accreditation (Safe and Local Supplier Approval).
“The success of my soft flavored cheeses means that the time is right to scale-up and grow the business by increasing capacity, but I simply couldn’t be thinking about growth without the support of the Development Bank and the addition of a 500 liter cheese vat. Their finance is helping me to make the transition to a business looking to compete in the national market space and that help has been invaluable. I’m pleased that they believe in my business and its potential.”
Alex Baines is an investment executive with the Development Bank of Wales. He said, “Jackie has got the passion and drive to turn her love of cheese in to a successful business that showcases the very best local produce that North Wales has to offer. Our micro-loan finance means that she now has the facilities and capacity to develop Castell Gwyn and maximize the growth potential.”
The £30m ($40.3m) Wales Micro Loan Fund is financed by the Welsh Government. Loans between £1,000 and £50,000 ($1,344 to $67,194) are available with repayment terms ranging from one to 10 years. Small businesses, sole traders and social enterprises based in Wales, or willing to move to Wales, can apply.