Ten Year Investment Programme Underway at Colston Bassett Dairy
Since 1913, Colston Bassett Dairy has been producing outstanding cheese from the dairy in Nottinghamshire. Recent accolades include; Supreme Champion at both the International Cheese Awards and the Great Yorkshire Show in 2014. The year prior to this, Shropshire Blue was in the Top 50 of the Great Taste Awards and Stilton was crowned Best British Cheese at the World Cheese Awards. With results such as this, it is no surprise that a cheese already in great demand, has further increased in popularity. This demand for a handmade product also brings with it challenges, particularly in the run up to the traditional Stilton eating period around Christmas.
Investment to meet demand
In 2013, a detailed internal review was carried out at Colston Bassett Dairy. The objective was to manage demand, whilst maintaining all of the same traditional methods of production – and upholding the consistently high quality of both the Stilton and Shropshire Blue made at the dairy. A decision was made to start a ten year investment programme – to carefully manage growth, to a specific maximum output during this period of time. Any growth would ensure that there were no changes in the production and maturation methods, so that the product is the same – but a little more of it! Phase one began in October 2013 – a scheme of building works that have just been completed. There is now increased maturation capacity for the cheese. The aim of this phase was to streamline the production flow but not to increase the overall volumes of cheese produced. Phase one has been completed successfully…
Billy Kevan, Dairy Manager at Colston Bassett Dairy explained the planned expansion; “We face an issue every Christmas period of not being able to meet demand. We of course as a business, want to be able to fulfil customer orders – but at the same time know that the demand is due to us being able to produce our consistently top quality product. Managing any growth of a handmade product effectively, is a business challenge. We feel that this phased long term approach, means that we can meet our objectives as a business and keep producing the multi-award winning great tasting cheese just as we have been since 1913.”