BARROn, WIS. — Specialty and flavored cheese manufacturer Heartisan Foods has agreed to acquire North Country Packaging, a move that will triple its manufacturing capacity.
To finance the purchase, Heartisan said it is using a $10 million revolving credit line that Ronin Equity Partners set up when the New York-based investment firm created Heartisan in 2021 by acquiring and merging Red Apple Cheese, Barron County Cheese and Cheese Brothers.
Heartisan said that buying North Country Packaging, which also operates in Wisconsin’s Barron County, will support its growing Cheese Brothers online brand, expanding fulfillment capabilities and putting the company in better position to launch new cheese snack products in categories such as cheese spreads and cheese curds.
North Country co-founder Kendall Goossen will take on a senior executive role at Heartisan and he and Maria Goossen will retain a stake in the combined entity.
“We’ve known the Goossens and their colleagues at North Country for years and we share the exact same vision,” said Gene Graf, chief executive officer at Heartisan. “The added capacity comes at just the right time, given that we’re currently running our production facilities at full steam. With 32 different North Country cheese spreads and cheese curds to choose from, Heartisan’s customers now have a different flavor to enjoy every day of any month.”
Heartisan said that North Country’s products include such innovations as tomato and sweet basil curds and habanero ghost pepper spreads.
“This deal is the perfect way to accelerate growth, speed up innovation and expand cutting-edge products at both companies,” Goossen said.
Heartisan sells its flavored and smoked cheeses online and distributes products to more than 12,000 retail outlets in the United States.
“Expanding capacity and driving innovation in new flavors and product categories shows our retail and consumer partners how committed we are to supporting their needs and driving growth,” said Tiffany Bell, a Ronin partner and Heartisan board member. “The expanded capacity will enhance our margins and give us better control of the supply chain, fulfilment and quality.”