When people think of Wisconsin, they often think of cheese.

According to the Madison, Wis.-based Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, the state produces 50% of domestic specialty cheeses.

The non-profit organization shared that at the recent 2023 American Cheese Society (ACS) Judging and Competition in Des Moines, Iowa, 25 individual companies belonging to the Proudly Wisconsin Cheese and Dairy roster received awards. Collectively, the state brought home 86 awards.

“It’s excellent to see Wisconsin dairy products shine on the ACS stage,” said Chad Vincent, CEO of Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. “The awards are a testament to Wisconsin’s 180-year cheesemaking heritage and the innovation of our incredible cheesemakers.”

According to the organization, Wisconsin cheesemakers won 28% of the medals at the 2023 ACS, which was double the awards won by the next closest competing state. The specific number of awards Wisconsin collectively received are the following:

  • 27 first-place awards
  • 28 second-place awards
  • 31 third-place awards

The Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin also said the state swept eight classes, earning the top three spots.

Individually, Proudly Wisconsin Cheese and Dairy companies earned the following:

  • Klondike Cheese Company of Monroe: 19 awards
  • BelGioioso Cheese Inc. of Green Bay: 9 awards
  • Widmer’s Cheese Cellars of Theresa: 8 awards
  • Marieke Gouda of Thorp: 7 awards
  • Nasonville Dairy, Inc. of Marshfield: 6 awards
  • Schuman Cheese of Turtle Lake: 5 awards
  • Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery of Ellsworth: 3 awards
  • Pine River Pre-Pack of Newton: 3 awards
  • Uplands Cheese of Dodgeville: 3 awards

“Pleasant Ridge Reserve of Uplands Cheese, America’s most-awarded cheese and proudly Wisconsin-made, has earned high honors as Third Best of Show at the 2023 ACS,” the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin said. “This farmstead-crafted alpine-style cheese is made only from May through October when the cows are eating fresh pasture imparting a sweetness born from the grass-fed milk combined with the savory flavors developed by the cheese’s natural, washed rind.”

This article is an excerpt from the October 2023 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. You can read the entire Domestic Specialty Cheese feature and more in the digital edition here.