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With growing demand, Great Lakes Cheese works on major Wausau expansionSubmitted: 06/25/2018
With growing demand, Great Lakes Cheese works on major Wausau expansion
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

WAUSAU - Each American eats about 35 pounds of cheese each year.

That number is higher than it has ever been.

The demand is good news for Wisconsin, which produces more cheese than any other state and more than all but three countries.

One company is building big in Wausau to keep pace.

"We will have state-of-the-art packaging, trying to create that innovation for the customer that wants to have some of those uniquenesses for the marketplace," said Dan Zagzebski, the president and CEO of Great Lakes Cheese.


The demand for cheese in creative trays, packages, and combinations has led to the major expansion of the Ohio-based company. Next year, the 225 employees from the current, aging Wausau plant will move to the new facility. Great Lakes Cheese will hire 125 more to work on its packaging operations.

"We're thrilled to be in Wausau, and certainly the community has been so supportive over all the years," Zagzebski said.

Wisconsin cheese production continues to dominate the country.

"It's fantastic. It's a great opportunity. People love cheese," said Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association President Kim Heiman.

Heiman said specialty cheeses, like the ones assembled at Great Lakes Cheese, are growing the fastest in popularity.

"Together with the dairy farmers and the cheesemakers, we're helping to feed the world," Heiman said. "We're able to do that with facilities and help like this."

Each year, Wisconsin produces more than three billion pounds of cheese. The industry hopes to build on what it has already.

"We're deploying technology here that will make Great Lakes Cheese in Wausau, WI, the envy of the dairy industry around the world," Zagzebski said.

At a ceremony at the Great Lakes Cheese facility, Gov. Scott Walker celebrated Wisconsin Cheese Day Monday, part of June Dairy Month.

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