PETALUMA, Calif. – As Clover Sonoma, a family-owned dairy in Northern California, innovates and grows their brand in new markets, the partnership with Alpina, a family-owned food company based in Colombia, presented an opportunity that aligned with Clover Sonoma’s mission and values. Both companies hold a shared vision for the future of dairy and that means taking a global perspective. The alliance will support the growth of Clover Sonoma’s business operations, sustainability efforts, and product innovation, while strengthening relationships with employees, farmers, retail customers, consumers, and in the communities they serve.
“As we look to innovate and grow our brand in new markets, the Clover Sonoma leadership team and I have been looking at opportunities that will support that growth,” said Clover Sonoma Chairman of the Board Marcus Benedetti. “Like-minded companies have to work together to innovate for our consumers and to support our farmers and communities. As a company, we are strengthened by this partnership to facilitate growth, and the opportunities it provides for our employees, family farms, retail customers, and consumers.”
Marcus Benedetti has chosen to follow his passion as Chairman of the Board to integrate the newly established board towards Clover Sonoma’s aligned growth strategy. As a result, Benedetti has appointed Clover Sonoma President & COO Ken Gott as President & CEO. The entire Clover Sonoma leadership team will remain the same and is a large part of the defining equities in the business, along with Clover Sonoma’s employees and dairy farmers, that attracted Alpina as a partner.
“After many years in the dairy business, we are focused on the partnership alignment and growth of the business nationally,” said Clover Sonoma President & CEO Ken Gott. “Having been with Clover for more than six years, I’ve worked alongside Marcus and the leadership team to create operational processes and structures that allow for future national expansion. We look forward to evaluating how best to scale and innovate, while preserving our values as a business.”
Clover Sonoma started the company with six families back in 1977 and has always remained family-owned and operated through various ownership structures. With this partnership, the structure incorporates new families who share purpose and who have also been entrenched in the dairy business for generations. Marcus Benedetti will remain the single largest shareholder in Clover Sonoma and will continue to help lead the company along with the current leadership team. Partnering with another family-owned, independent business also allows Clover Sonoma continued flexibility versus taking on debt capital or partnering with a public company. The company looks forward to realizing their vision for growing the Clover Sonoma and Clover the Rainbow brands in new markets with Alpina as their partner in that journey.
Alpina is a multi-Latin food and dairy company of Swiss origin based in Colombia with more than 75 years of tradition and presence in more than 20 countries in Latin America. Alpina’s portfolio has more than 600 SKUs including aged cheeses, milks, yogurts, functional dairy beverages, vegetable-based beverages, baby food, nutraceutical and food supplements, among others. The company is the largest dairy producing company in Colombia and one of the most beloved brands with more than $700 million in sales.
Alpina’s Heritage Story
After WWII in 1945, Alpina was founded in Bogotá, Colombia by two Swiss immigrants Max Bazinger and Walter Goggel who started a dairy in Colombia to share Swiss traditions and to create new traditions and products that met the needs of Colombian families. Similar to Clover Sonoma’s founding father, Gene Benedetti, who came home from WWII to build a company based on a foundation for good, Max and Walter also had that same goal in mind when founding Alpina. Max and Walter began searching for areas rich in milk production; and when they encountered Sopó Valley in Colombia, they were awe-inspired by its similarity to the Swiss landscape (and coincidentally to Northern California topography). A third group of Colombian families became partners in the business during the 1970s.
Alpina’s Commitment to Sustainability
Alpina’s focus on sustainability is a top priority as they work closely with thousands of micro-farms in Colombia to produce their dairy products and to support local economies and communities. Working with thousands of small family farms in Colombia, Alpina is committed to enhancing the livelihood of its people, and providing technical assistance to keep up with agricultural innovation. As a company, Alpina aligns with Clover Sonoma’s sustainability goals and commitments as well as socially. Some of Alpina’s commitments include:
- Become carbon and plastic neutral
- Donate products to 2M vulnerable families across Colombia each year
- Protect human rights and fair trade across the value chain
- Encourage sustainable livestock
- Empower women through agricultural associations
- Believe in and promote diversity, inclusion, and equality
- Conduct all work ethically and transparently
The Future of Clover Sonoma
The Clover Sonoma leadership team will continue to drive company growth and expansion with the support of Alpina as a strategic partner. Clover Sonoma’s milk production and manufacturing will remain in the U.S. with the support of Clover Sonoma family farms. Product innovation and Clover Sonoma’s Organic Plus standards will help continue to differentiate the Clover Sonoma brand and create a more robust offering for retailers and consumers.
“In the spirit in which our company was founded, we plan to offer our unique brand to more families looking for dairy products they can trust at the same high quality standards that our customers have grown to love,” said Benedetti. “Strategic partnership and collaboration help advance meaningful growth; that’s why we chose Alpina as our partner in this next chapter of our story.”
About Clover Sonoma
Third-generation family owned and operated, Clover Sonoma is a leader at the forefront of the dairy industry, bringing conscious dairy products direct from its family farms to consumers in the U.S. The Petaluma-based company in Northern California’s beautiful Sonoma County was the first dairy in the United States to become American Humane Certified, and hold its partnership of family-owned dairy farms to a higher standard by developing its own unique Clover Promise of Excellence. As a Certified B Corporation®, the company uses its business as a power to do good, and its passionate support of animal welfare, sustainable practices, and local community continue to be hallmarks of the business. Each year, the company gives back at least five percent of its profits to support these passions under its Clover Cares program. For more information, please visit www.cloversonoma.com and join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.