Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association Notes: Resilient Artisan Makers Press On

Approaching the 12-month mark of economic turbulence for the dairy and food industry, WCMA reached out to a handful of artisan cheesemakers, and a key partner to many manufacturers, and found optimism, and an encouraging theme of business resiliency in the face of stunning change.

“It was rough,” Wisconsin cheesemaker Chris Roelli concluded about the first few months after restaurants abruptly ceased ordering and foot traffic failed in cheese shops that feature Roelli Cheese’s award-winning Red Rock, Dunbarton Blue and Little Mountain cheeses.

Andy Hatch, owner of Uplands Cheese in Dodgeville, Wis., agreed. The maker of famed Pleasant Ridge Reserve lost a third of sales in the spring of 2020, and like artisans across the country, had to quickly explore other channels and evolve his business, while watching distributors wrestle to manage inventories and reinvent their businesses.

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