In This Issue...
Upcoming Events
Retail Discounts
Pairing Craft Beer & Cheese
What's in a Name?
Register for ACS 2014
Join the "Cheese Guard!"
Preserving Traditional Cheesemaking
Featured Cheeses
Cheese in the News

Upcoming Cheese Events


June 26, 2014
Philadelphia, PA
August 12-15, 2014
England, UK

September 9-12, 2014
Greensboro, VT

Find more events, and post your own events, on the ACS Event Calendar.

Retail Discounts for ACS Members


ACS members enjoy discounts on great cheeses at participating retailers via the ACS Retail Discount Program! This program allows you to receive discounts of 10-20% simply by presenting a valid ACS membership card at check-out. Click the map below for a full list of participating retailers in the U.S. and Canada. 



Pairing Craft Beer and Cheese: 

A Helpful Style Guide


ACS recently sampled our members' products at SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience in Washington, DC. This event pairs American craft beers with thoughtfully paired bites--including artisan cheeses. Pairing beer and cheese may seem like a no-brainer, but with beer styles ranging from a Barrel-Aged Strong Beer to a Pumpkin Ale, finding the right match can be a challenge. ACS CCPs™ Jens Davis and Devin Lamma created this pairing guide for SAVOR, but we think it's the perfect tool to have on-hand year-round. Happy pairing!

What's In A Name?



Philosopher - Ewetopia Dairy


Ewetopia Dairy of California makes Philosopher, a sheep's and cow's milk cheese with a rich blend of sheep butterfat. Owner Jed Asmus says, "The short story behind this name is that we started Ewetopia based on an idea: that well cared-for animals make the best products.  After creating the cheese we call Philosopher (a full cream feta-style cheese), we thought it only fitting to ensure the name of our first cheese was instilled with our philosophy... and Philosopher was born."


Register Today for ACS 2014!


Regular registration for the 2014 ACS Conference in Sacramento closes on Wednesday, June 25. Mark your calendar to ensure that you can take advantage of lower registration rates. The registration rate will increase from $595 to $695 on June 26.


Click here for registration rates and a schedule of this year's program. 

Join the "Cheese Guard" in Sacramento!


The ACS Conference & Competition is just weeks away -- and we need your help to make our 31st annual event a success! ACS is seeking volunteers to assist with shifts in Sacramento from July 24 - August 2. 


Don't miss the chance to get this exclusive t-shirt, available only to 2014 Conference volunteers!

Learn more about volunteering, and find the shift that's right for you:


Dear Fellow ACS Members,


What a week or two it has been for the American Cheese Society and our industry! Unless you have been traveling off the grid or have been living under a rock, then you are well aware of the issue that has been dominating water cooler chat, media attention, and our staff's bandwidth. Naturally, I am speaking of the potential threat to one of cheesemaking's time-honored traditional practices: aging on wood boards.

Last summer, at our 30th Anniversary Conference in Madison, we talked about change in our industry and what it means for our organization and its emerging role not only as cheerleader, but also as advocate. Well, we got our first solid test on that front, and I sure am proud of the American Cheese Society's staff, board, volunteer committees, and individual members who have worked tirelessly on behalf of our organization in solidarity with cheesemakers the world over. We are also grateful to our allied industry partners, guilds, legislators. and the general public for lending their vocal yet constructive and professionally-delivered support.

This collective energy could not be ignored. Not by the media, which has shone a bright light on the issues, nor by our elected officials -- but more importantly, not by our regulatory authorities, with whom we have endeavored to collaborate for some time. We are heartened that FDA reached out to ACS to meet in the coming weeks to discuss the best ways to age cheese on wood boards and we look forward to this being the beginning of ongoing meetings with our regulatory partners. That said, we also know that this issue is not yet resolved and it is but one of several threats to traditional cheesemaking methods in America. 

For this reason, we sent a letter last week to FDA along with many of the aforementioned stakeholder parties, confirming the American Cheese Society's full intention to partner with them to help address the safest ways to continue upholding the highest standards in traditional cheesemaking.

Will this process be easy? It will not. Do we have guarantees that our regulatory partners will follow through on their intention to collaborate with us? We do not. But we must start here in good faith and take the seat at the table that we have asked for. To us, this "seat" includes being included in Peer Review and the early and exploratory phases of processes that partner organizations typically experience. Our membership brings much to the table, so we will be very ably represented wherever we have a "seat." We will keep you informed and do our best to manage your expectations.

Of course, all of this is even more reason to join us in Sacramento for our 31st anniversary conference this summer. We can continue last year's discussions, expand our knowledge (have you seen this year's educational program?), and also reinforce our strong sense of community. In the meantime, please continue to lend your voice and to stay actively involved in this organization that I am personally most proud to be able to serve.

Thanks for all you have done and will do for the American Cheese Society. Onward and upward.


Greg O'Neill

Preserving Traditional Cheesemaking


Nora Weiser-New Photo

In his letter, Greg has clearly described the maelstrom into which our industry was sucked in these last few weeks. While cheese aging on wood is the subject of the moment, it by no means tells the whole story. Traditional styles of cheese and cheesemaking methods seem quite regularly to be the focus of FDA assignments, and as of yet, there has been no real clarification as to how such methods might be impacted once FSMA is fully implemented and enforced. Raw milk cheeses, soft-ripened cheeses, cheeses aged using vegetable ash, cave-aging, ripening on wood...these materials and methods are safely used to produce some of the world's most renowned cheeses. ACS has proactively sought audience with FDA to address such issues, and on Friday, June 13, we reached out again with a letter expressing our concerns and goals for collaboration moving forward.


With so much happening on the food safety and regulatory front, I strongly encourage you to join ACS in Sacramento this summer -- it will be an invaluable opportunity for all of us to reconnect, network, and share information. It will also be an important time for you to hear the latest developments on the art and science of cheese, from tastings to Town Hall discussions, from tours to technical sessions. Registration rates increase on June 26, so register soon to save.




Nora Weiser

Executive Director


Featured Cheeses: Grafton Village Cheese's Clothbound Cave-Aged Cheddar & Bear Hill


By Marcella Wright, ACS CCP™

Cheesemaking has been a tradition in Grafton Village, Vermont since the late 1800's when local dairy farmers formed a coop to pool their surplus milk. In 1912, the cheesemaking factory burned down and the community had no cheese facility until 1962, when The Windham Foundation restored the factory and brought cheesemaking back to the community. The Foundation is dedicated to promoting the rural communities of Vermont. The profits from Grafton Village Cheese go back into the Foundation to further its commitment to keep rural Vermont alive and thriving.

Recently, I received a "care package" from Grafton Village Cheese which included their Clothbound Cheddar and 2013 American Cheese Society Best of Show runner-up, Bear Hill.

I like to think of Cheddar as the "utility player" of cheese. You can do so much with cheddar and it pairs well with many diverse food items. Cheddar comes in several different formats and can be served young and as aged as 15 years. Last year a truckle of cheese more than 30 years old was discovered in the back of a Wisconsin cheese shop's walk-in cooler. It was still tasty and sold for about $35.00 an ounce.

The traditional English cheddars are clothbound, and the Grafton Clothbound Cheddar is made in the same traditional manner. After the make, the cheese truckles are wrapped in cheese cloth and coated with lard or oil to allow breathing while prohibiting the introduction of unwanted bacteria and mold. It's aged in Grafton's own caves for a minimum of six months...[continue reading]

In the News: Cheese Aging on Wood



There has been a tremendous amount of media coverage around the recent issue of whether cheesemakers can age and ripen their cheeses on wood surfaces. Full coverage will be posted to the ACS website in the coming weeks. In the meantime, see a sampling of the coverage below:
Connect to ACS

Stay connected to ACS no matter where you are! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@CheeseSociety), or LinkedIn. Get the latest updates from the cheese community, connect with fellow cheesemakers, retailers and enthusiasts, and tell us what's happening in your world.