The History of Guggisberg Cheese.
Alfred Guggisberg, the founder of Guggisberg Cheese, took an interest in cheese making at a very young age. He was only 16 when he began to study the art of cheese making in the high pastures of the Alps in his home land of Switzerland. He went on to attend the famous Swiss Federal “Molkereishulle” (cheese maker’s institute) to further improve upon his craft. Upon completing his schooling, Alfred spent a number of years making cheese throughout Europe and parts of Africa before coming over to the United States in 1947 in search of a new challenge. It didn’t take long, with his high standard of quality, for Alfred to earn a reputation as an exceptional cheese maker. As a result of his abilities, local Amish farmers, in search of a cheese maker to provide a market for their milk, lured Alfred to the Doughty Valley in Charm, Ohio. The operation that Alfred took over, known then as Doughty Valley Cheese, evolved and became Guggisberg Cheese in 1950.
In the 1960s, after having sufficient time to experiment with the local milk, Alfred was able to develop a new style of Swiss. His objective in doing so was to come up with a taste that was more favorable to the less-developed American palate. The main differences with this cheese were that it featured smaller “eyes” (holes) and had a creamier taste. Alfred’s wife, Margaret Guggisberg, christened the new cheese “Baby Swiss” after she saw a wheel of it next to the much larger wheel of traditional Emmental Swiss.
In 1968, Guggisberg Baby Swiss Cheese was launched and Alfred’s cheese house began producing larger quantities of Baby Swiss wheels for the local community. While still in this early stage, Margaret, being the assertive woman that she is, decided to approach the local supermarket (Buehler’s) with some of Alfred’s new cheese. Buehler’s agreed to take in some of this cheese and, within a month, found that it was a good seller and reordered in larger quantities. This relationship helped propel Baby Swiss into popularity, and Buehler’s is still a regular customer today.
With Baby Swiss starting to become an established product, competitors began coming out with their own imitations of the cheese. Their problem was, they didn’t have that secret Guggisberg family recipe, and, as the old adage goes… often imitated, never duplicated! Guggisberg is the original Baby Swiss and the taste has never been mirrored by any of its competition.
A longtime dream of Margaret's became a reality in 1983, with the opening of the Chalet in the Valley Restaurant. Served there are the authentic Swiss and Austrian cuisines. The restaurant is built in the style of a Swiss Chalet and overlooks the scenic Doughty Valley. Margaret Guggisberg supervised the operation when it opened, and to this day still plays a key role in daily functions.
Alfred passed away in 1985, and his son, Richard Guggisberg, is now president. Under Richard’s leadership, the company has grown into one of the larger manufacturers of Swiss cheese in the US, and one of the biggest cheese manufacturers of any sort in all of Ohio. Guggisberg sells to retail and wholesale customers all over the continental United States and Europe.
In 1995, Guggisberg Cheese purchased a facility in Sugarcreek, Ohio. The factory was completely remodeled and old equipment was replaced with state-of-the-art technology. The facility produces a substantially higher volume compared to the Doughty Valley Plant.
In January of 2009, Guggisberg acquired Deutsch Kase Haus of Middlebury, Indiana. Deutsch Kase Haus is one of the country’s premier manufacturers of Colby, Marble, Yogurt, and other stirred-curd cheeses. This new array of products successfully expanded Guggisberg’s product offerings and granted them better positioning in the market place. The facility itself is state-of-the-art, and one of the most automated cheese plants in the country.
Guggisberg is constantly growing and maturing as a company. Their prominence hasn’t gone unnoticed, either. Guggisberg was awarded 2016 World Swiss Champion, and Grand Champion of the United States at the 2015 U.S. Champion Cheese Contest in Wisconsin for their Premium Swiss, granting them the title of #1 Cheese in America. Guggisberg has also been awarded Ohio Grand Champion Cheese Maker for the past five years. Their original Baby Swiss took first place at the 2015 American Cheese Society Contest, where they also took 2nd and 3rd places with other Swiss varieties. These awards, among many others, highlight the long list of achievements since the turn of the century. Complementing them are Championship awards from fairs, shows, and festivals all over Ohio, including the Ohio State Fair.
Guggisberg attributes their success to upholding their long-standing traditions of superior quality, authenticity, dedicated employees, and a genuine concern for their customers’ satisfaction.
Here are some pictures of the beautiful garden located beside the cheese factory.
And here are a few of Richard and Guggisberg Awards!