Moving further into the U.S. market of specialty cheeses, Swiss dairy company, Emmi, has announced that it will assume full control of Tomales Bay Foods and the Cowgirl Creamery Corporation, by the end of this month.
“Tomales Bay Foods and Cowgirl Creamery are an excellent addition to our portfolio of sustainably produced premium speciality cheeses in the U.S.,” Emmi CEO Urs Riedener said. “Together with Cypress Grove Chevre and Redwood Hill, the two companies will form a powerful network for extraordinary dairy products in California."
The company disclosed in a press release that it currently generates 44 percent of its sales abroad; one third of which comes through exports from Switzerland, with the other two thirds secured by Emmi-owned local subsidiaries.
This merger with Cowgirl Creamery Corporation, and its distribution arm of Tomales Bay Foods, represents a larger strategy by Emmi to continue to expand its international growth both organically and through other acquisitions, especially of companies in niche markets in countries where Emmi already has a foothold.
The Cowgirl Creamery Corporation was founded in 1997 by Sue Conley and Peggy Smith in Point Reyes, CA. Fueled by a passion for good, healthy food and sustainable farming, both women learned how to cultivate cheese from scratch and translated their talents into two Cowgirl Creamery retail locations, and an online store.
In regards to the merger, Conley and Smith posted an open letter on their website, stating “We felt with great confidence that we have found a like-minded, value-aligned partner in Emmi, and indeed one who will be instrumental in securing the future of the business. We are looking forward to the expertise and resources that this merger brings.”
Smith and Conley stated that they will stay on through the merger as Co-Managing Directors, serving as President and Vice-President. The women also announced a new production facility in Petaluma, resuming the Cowgirl Creamery cottage cheese line, and learning traditional European cheesemaking techniques.
Conley and Smith also stated that they are looking forward to collaborating on the following as part of the acquisition:
Emmi said that with the acquisition it will expand its product portfolio of traditionally produced specialties of soft, semi-hard, and aged artisan cheeses in an organic range. Cowgirl Creamery and Tomales Bay Foods will continue to generate all current products, with milk sourced specifically from Marin and Sonoma counties.
In 2015, Tomales Bay Foods and Cowgirl Creamery generated a combined annual sales of over $20 million, and employed 95 people. Smith said in a statement to SF Gate that the owner of Cypress Grove, another Emmi subsidiary, advised her that Emmi would allow them to run their business the same, which influenced the merger decision.
Both companies mutally agreed to keep the purchase price private.