My name is Eric Ludy, and I am the co-founder of Cheese Brothers. My great grandfather, a Swiss cheese maker named Fred Ludy, started our families’ first cheese factory in Wisconsin in 1919, and we have been in the cheese business ever since. My friend Gene Graf and I founded Cheese Brothers in 2015 with the mission to form a new type of cheese company: one that used the Internet and pop-up markets to share cheese with people directly. With the onset this year of Covid-19, our pop-up markets have ended, but we have met hundreds of new friends and customers by sharing our story online. We are now an online-only business, and are proud to share our cheeses with people around the country!
I know you’ll love our cheese. Feel free to get in touch any time to learn more about our company and products. I look forward to meeting you!
For those interested in our history, here is a quick timeline, from 1919 to the present day:
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.
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.
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 pop-up store at the Mall of America. We stayed there for three years!
Covid-19 shut down our festivals and pop-up events, so we had to reimagine our company quickly. We started promoting ourselves on Facebook, Instragram, and whereever we could find online, and quickly found out that there was a big demand for home delivery of good Wisconsin cheese. We have been an online-only company ever since, shipping cheese all over the country from our shipment center in Barron, just down the road from where Fritz set up shop in 1919!
Thanks for learning more about us, and have a Gouda day!
Eric Ludy and Gene Graf
The Cheese Brothers