Saputo buys goat cheesemaker Woolwich Dairy

Ont. dairy firm includes plants in Quebec, Wisconsin

Woolwich Dairy began marketing goat cheese-based salad dressings in 2011. (WoolwichDairy.com)

Canada’s biggest cheesemaker is expanding its reach in the goat dairy market with a friendly all-cash takeover of Ontario goat cheese firm Woolwich Dairy.

Montreal-based Saputo announced Monday it has paid $80 million for the family-owned cheesemaking company, including its three plants and distribution centre.

Based at Orangeville, north of Guelph, Woolwich has operated since 1983 and has been owned by the Dutra family since 1989. The company makes Chevrai, goat brie, cheddar, feta and mozzarella cheeses and branched out in 2011 to include the Wholesome Goat line of goat’s-milk ice creams and goat cheese-based salad dressings.

Woolwich, on its website Monday, said its customers can “expect the same quality product as Woolwich Dairy operations will remain active.”

The company sources goat’s milk from over 200 goat farmers in Ontario, supplying its 40,000-square foot plant at Orangeville. Woolwich in 2011 also set up a 25,000-square foot distribution facility at Amaranth, just west of Orangeville.

Woolwich’s Fromagerie Madame Chevre plant, built in 2005 at Princeville, Que., southeast of Trois-Rivieres, is focused on high-end surface-ripened specialty cheeses.

Woolwich since 2008 has also operated a plant at Lancaster, Wisconsin, about 130 km west of Madison, buying from U.S. producers and focused on the U.S. market.

Saputo, whose own brands include the Alexis de Portneuf line of goat cheeses, said buying Woolwich, which employs about 190 people, allows it to “increase its presence in the specialty cheese category in North America.” — AGCanada.com Network

 

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