We’re talking about Wisconsin, so you probably figured cheese would come up sooner or later; you just didn’t know when.
Well, here it is.
Weyauwega is famous for its cheese. So much so that there is a company called Weyauwega Cheese that isn’t even located in Weyauwega. Misleading? Yes. Savvy marketing? Definitely.
To be fair, the family that founded Weyauwega Cheese also owns Weyauwega Star Dairy, which IS located in Weyauwega, and Weyauwega Star Dairy has a store front in Weyauwega that sells—drumroll please—Weyauwega Cheese. They also sell their own cheeses, processed meats, and frozen custard.
I’ll bet you’ll never guess what else they sell? Besides cheeses, processed meats, and frozen custard, I mean. Check out this photo and see for yourself. I’ll wait.
Isn’t that awesome?
Now some of you may have a hard time believing that Bud Light is available for purchase at a place called Weyauwega Star Dairy. Especially if you haven’t spent a lot of time in Wisconsin, you may doubt that this ad for Bud Light is in any way affiliated with the Weyauwega Star Dairy. But if you zoom in on the red and black logo to the left of that beer can, you’ll see not only that there is an ad for Bud Light on the side of the Weyauwega Star Dairy, but also that the Bud Light ad on the side of the Weyauwega Star Dairy was created specifically FOR the Weyauwega Star Dairy. Here is a close-up shot of that red and black logo, just so you know what you’re looking at:
According to its website, Weyauwega Star Dairy “has been in the cheese business for over 30 years, and specializes in a variety of Italian cheeses.” If that logo looks familiar, that’s not just because you saw it on the Bud Light sign a few paragraphs ago. Rather, it may be because it closely resembles the logo for Weyauwega Cheese, which is sold under this eerily similar label, which you may have seen in your local grocery store.
The company that makes this cheese has been around since 1912, so it’s a fair bet that you’ve seen it before. Even if you have seen it before, you may not have paid much attention to the name and, like my friend Mary, never realized until she found out we were moving here, that the word ‘Weyauwega’ refers to a place and not to any person, persons, or things.
According to the company’s website, the most important ingredient in their cheese is family pride. I’m not sure what sort of flavor that imparts, but I’m not going to dwell on that. Besides, it’s much more fun to contemplate the 1.5 mile-long string of cheese that was made by the President of Weyauwega Star Dairy and which reportedly earned him a spot in the 1995 Guinness Book of World Records. You can find these and other fun facts at stardairy.com and weyauwegacheese.com.
Another Weyauwega cheese maker is Agropur Inc. Previously known as Trega Foods, Agropur claims to be a “worldwide supplier of award winning cheese & whey products. With more than 300 employees & 3 facilities located in Weyauwega, Little Chute, & Luxemburg, WI, Agropur’s rich cheesemaking tradition is the gold standard by which so many other cheesemakers measure their product.” Their Weyauwega facility, founded by Jacob H. Wagner, partnered with Kraft Foods to pioneer “the development of the ‘640 Square Barrel’ to hold and store natural cheese for cutting.” I’m not sure what that means, but I imagine it’s a pretty big deal among cheesemakers or they wouldn’t be bragging about it on their website. Find out more about their cheese and ingredients division at http://www.agropuringredients.com/about-us/agropur-family/cheese-ingredients-division/
Taylor Cheese Corp, meanwhile, is a small cheese operation in Weyauwega that has been “cutting and wrapping quality natural and process cheese for more than 40 years. “ Founded by Lowell “Abe” Taylor in the late 1950’s to service “the largest grocery store chain in the USA,” Taylor Cheese Corp employees 23 people. They can process and custom cut, wrap, grind, shred and package cheese to order, and pride themselves on “the use of only natural cheese manufactured in Wisconsin and using a high quality Wisconsin-based manufacturer of Pasteurized Process Cheese.” Read all about them and other Wisconsin cheesemakers at http://www.eatwisconsincheese.com/wi-cheese-companies/215/taylor-cheese-corp
So it seems you don’t have to visit Weyauwega in order to get a taste of Weyauwega cheese. But if you ever do make it out to Weyauwega and you want to sample the cheese and see where it is made, let me know. I’ll happily bring the crackers.