At Cheese Brothers, we’re not brothers by birth. We’re brothers by cheese. Brothers in a Wisconsin tradition that goes back generations. Here’s our story.
Fredrick "Fritz" Ludy, a strapping young Swiss at 28 years of age, steps on to a steam-powered ocean liner bound for America, and ultimately, a tiny farm community in northwestern Wisconsin called Almena. His listed occupation on the manifest: Cheesemaker.
Fritz establishes Twin Town Cheese Factory, specializing in the alpine cheese varieties of his youth. With his heavy Swiss accent and thick mustache, he stands out in his community of Scandinavian farmers. He and his wife, Rosa, make a home on a farm next to the factory. A small staff of cheesemakers lives in a bunkhouse upstairs.
Fritz’s son John, an ambitious, bespectacled youth, buys the factory from his dad at the age of 24. He sets about modernizing the equipment, and converts the factory to a new specialty, hard Italian-style cheeses. His brother, Kenny, tends the factory bar, offering cold brews to workers after long, hot days in the make room.
1980's – 2000's
John sells Twin Town Cheese factory in 1988. His son Tom carries on the family tradition in 2001 with the construction of a new cheese factory in nearby Turtle Lake, ultimately becoming the largest producer of Italian-style cheeses in the country. Cheese Brothers co-founder Gene Graf learns his trade there, and soon establishes his own plant nearby.
2010’s – Today
Eric Ludy, Tom’s son and the great-grandson of Fritz, sets up Cheese Brothers with his lifelong friend Gene Graf. They begin selling their cheeses at festivals and craft fairs, and take a giant step forward by opening a store at the Mall of America.
Our story isn’t over. Today, we’re building on the legacy of Fritz and the Ludy family with new takes on Wisconsin classics. From the nation’s biggest mall, to your local craft fair, to your own kitchen, we want to spread the joy of Wisconsin cheese to households throughout the world.
So join the brotherhood. Check out our offerings here online, or come meet us in person at the Mall of America. With time, you too could become a Cheese Brother.
Eric Ludy and Gene Graf
The Cheese Brothers