President of New Bothwell Cheese Ivan Balenovic
Around 75 years ago, seven dairy farmers contributed $15,000 dollars to what is known today as New Bothwell Cheese. This started the Bothwell Cooperative Dairy Society. The company has grown continually since then.
Ivan Belanovic is President and CEO of Bothwell Cheese and says, "I came in 2002 and we have grown a lot since then. I think it is a result of fantastic managemeent and employees. That gave us the chance to do what we are doing now. We have tripled the size of our business in 10 years."
Belanovic says the company was really built on fresh cheddar, squeekers and curds, and those products have given Bothwell Cheese a great reputation, and a good base to build from. To this day, they continue to make those products and more.
New Bothwell Cheese has elevated the company in terms of really exotic cheeses, like madagascar green pepper corn, black summer truffle, and aged red wine cheese. Those productsput them into the high end delis in the Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver markets. Belanovic calls it a "pull off effect" where people then started to recognize that bothwell cheese is a real unique quality cheese maker, and it really elevated sales of cheddars and mozzarellas. He notes they now make edam and ghouda and munster. In total, they produce 25 different kinds of cheese.
When asked about why New Bothwell Cheese has done so well, Belanovic had this to say, "I think the reason for staying in New Bothwell is the employee base. We have an outstanding employee base. We have 16 employees now. We had 36 when we started. Our employees truly are dedicated, loyal and hard working. I know when we win national awards and our cheese is being distributed in every province and every territory there is, the employees are very proud that it bears the name of the town they are in. I dont think we could find that same type of employee culture anywhere else and its not even on our minds to look anywhere else."
Belanovic says there are several different competitions across Canada the United States and Internationally, but there is one in particular that they have been very successful at. It is called The British Empire Cheese competition and is held in Belville Ontario. The winners of this competition receive a very prestigous award. Belanovic says, "We have won the award for our marble cheddar 5 years in a row. Why that is so important to us is because it is judged by cheese makers. Its not judged by people that might be objective, like connasuers or chefs or people that might just like the taste. It is judged on very specific criteria. It starts with a perfect score and gets deductions for defects. We know we are being judged by our peers and they are the best in Canada"
For more information go to www.bothwellcheese.com