Aspatria Creamery Celebrates a Year of Success


Employees at The First Milk Cheese Company creamery at Aspatria are celebrating a vintage year of success with their award-winning cheese.

For the creamery, which is owned by the UK's largest farmer-owned co-operative, First Milk, scooped 31 awards across the country's cheese shows, including three Supreme Champion titles for its Mature Cheddar, Red Leicester and Double Gloucester.

On top of the Supreme Champion awards, the creamery also lifted seven gold medals, 14 silver medals, including two at the World Cheese Awards, as well as seven bronze medals.

Explained Aspatria general manager, Sean Bell: "The team at the creamery are absolutely delighted at our success this year. Cheese award shows are the shop window for our products and we know existing and potential customers take notice of who's winning the big prizes, so it is great for our reputation to be known as a producer of award-winning cheese."

The Cumbrian creamery, which employs 95 staff, is in the heart of a large producer area for First Milk. "We have around 250 producers in Cumbria so it is a very tight-knit area. Our members are delighted that they own their own creamery right on the doorstep which means transportation costs can be kept to a minimum, " added Mr Bell.

"The quality of the milk we receive here every day is absolutely superb. We require a particular composition of milk for cheese making and we are working in partnership with our members to achieve that. By achieving a better cheese yield, we become more efficient and more profitable and at the end of the day, that means more money is being returned to our members."

Production staff at Aspatria are skilled artisans and cheese makers, many of whom have made cheese traditionally by hand in the past. Those who have joined the team in recent years learn to make cheese from our long-serving, experienced cheese makers who hand down their skills because it is important to understand what is going on with a live raw material which they are handling on a daily basis.

Aspatria supplies a number of the key retailers in the UK with private label cheese including ASDA, with a number of the products carrying the name of the creamery on the pack.

"Regional provenance is important to consumers who want to know where their cheese is coming from – and that they are supporting local farmers."

Concluded Bell: "Our achievements in the past year have been great but they are just the beginning of a strong future for Aspatria."

Notes to editors
First Milk is the largest dairy farmer co-operative in the UK. Its members' farms stretch from Central Scotland to the South of England, and from West Wales to East Anglia.
The business has three divisions: Milk Operations; Cheese; and Ingredients.
Milk Operations handles approximately two billion litres of milk per annum from around 2600 producers. This milk is supplied to First Milk's cheese business and to many of the leading names in the industry.
The First Milk Cheese Company is the largest UK-based cheese supplier.
First Milk's Ingredients business supplies a range of customers with milk powder and whey products for functional foods, protein drinks, pro-biotics, pre-biotics, pharmaceutical, bakery and confectionary products.
For further information, please contact:

Jill Coyle on 07825 625205