Wales’ oldest dairy farmers’ co-operative is celebrating its most successful awards season ever after their cheeses scooped 30 gongs.
South Caernarfon Creameries came home to the Llŷn Peninsula with 10 prizes from the prestigious International Cheese and Dairy Awards in Nantwich, the largest cheese show in the world which featured cheeses from 29 different countries.
Among the winners was their Dragon brand half fat and reduced fat cheddars which won gold and silver prizes respectively, while their Welsh red cheddar scooped both gold and silver.
It comes hot on the heels of a major success for SCC at the Royal Welsh Show, where the co-operative won twenty awards.
The Dragon brand Reduced Fat cheese was hailed both Supreme Cheese, making it the best in show at the Royal Welsh, and Best Welsh cheese, making it the best cheese made in Wales.
It follows an exciting re-brand of the much-loved range of Dragon cheeses made by SCC, which is this year celebrating its 80th anniversary and employs 130 staff at its base near Pwllheli on the Llŷn Peninsula.
All of SCC’s Dragon range of cheeses, ranging from mild to vintage, are made using milk sourced 100% from its Welsh farming members, and every block can be traced back to the cow.
“This has been a fantastic show season for everyone at South Caernarfon Creameries,” said SCC managing director Alan Wyn Jones.
“To bring home 10 awards from Nantwich and 20 from the Royal Welsh including Supreme Cheese and Best Welsh Cheese is a wonderful achievement which we are very proud of.
“It’s the ultimate accolade to have this recognition from two of the industry’s top shows and it’s testament to the quality of the milk produced by our farming members across North and Mid Wales.
“It is also a seal of approval for our cheesemakers who continually work hard to refine and improve our products.
“In particular we have put a lot of effort into improving the taste and texture of the Reduced Fat cheddar and we are delighted the judges agreed that we have a wonderful cheese made here in Wales which I hope everyone will try.”
A new special occasion cheese made with Penderyn whisky was launched by SCC simultaneously at the Royal Welsh Show and Nantwich Show, in celebration of the co-operative’s 80th anniversary.
Made with vintage Dragon cheddar aged in the Llechwedd slate caverns of Blaenau Ffestiniog, it is then infused with the award-winning Penderyn whisky.
Dragon brand cheeses made by South Caernarfon Creameries range from Mild Cheddar to a full-bodied Vintage Special Reserve Cheddar and Llechwedd slate aged cheddars.
Also launched at the shows was new packaging for the Dragon range, featuring brighter colours and a crisper, more modern version of the brand’s distinctive Welsh Dragon logo.
The Reduced Fat Dragon cheese which scooped both Supreme Cheese and Best Welsh cheese at the Royal Welsh Show comes in a fresh turquoise packaging, featuring a quality mark in line with all Dragon cheeses.
A map on the new Dragon brand packaging shows customers the area where their cheese is sourced from in North Wales, and a slogan reads: ’Welsh milk from Welsh cows fed in the lush green pastures of Wales’.
Emma Knight marketing manager for SCC and the Dragon brand said the Dragon re-brand aims to raises awareness of the high quality and provenance of Dragon cheese.
She said: “Our customers really value that the cheese is made in Wales and we are supporting the farming community. We are looking forward to sharing what makes Dragon cheese so special in the coming months.”
It follows a record-breaking year for SCC after sales hit £45.1 million in 2017/18.
The co-operative has launched a recruitment drive for new farming members to supply milk. There are currently 125 supplying members and SCC remains Wales’ leading farmer-owned co-operative.
South Caernarfon Creameries was established in 1938 by 63 local farmers.
By 1954, the number of farmer suppliers had grown to 120 and five years later the creamery began making cheese, sold as “Caws Llyn”.
Over the last four years SCC has invested £12 million in a state-of-the-art cheese production facility as well as redevelopment of their cheese packing plant.
The creamery, which processes more than 120 million litres of Welsh milk each year, still occupies its original site at Rhydygwystl, near Chwilog.
The company produces a range of cheese and butter products and produces around 12,500 tonnes of cheese a year.
The location was carefully chosen on the border between Llyn and Eifionydd, two areas renowned for their Gulf Stream-warmed lush grass.
A whole host of the co-op’s cheese has previously been recognised and scooped top awards at the British Cheese Awards, World Cheese Awards, International Cheese Awards and Global Cheese Awards and many others.
To find out more about South Caernarfon Creameries visit www.sccwales.co.uk You can also find them on Twitter and Facebook.