Founded in 2005 by brothers-in-law Tim Welsh and Pat Ford, Beehive Cheese Company is located at the mouth of the Weber Canyon near Uintah in UT - about half an hour north of Salt Lake City. They are one of the few artisanal cheesemakers in Utah.
Having previously worked in the worlds of software and real estate, both men harbored a belief in revitalizing the concept of the local creamery. With the help of The Western Dairy Center at Utah State University, they began to turn their vision into reality.
Pat and Tim built the family owned and operated creamery from the ground up. Jersey cow’s milk, known for its high butterfat content, is sourced from Wadeland South Dairy, located about 10 miles from the creamery.
The milk arrives from Wadeland at about midnight when it’s just a few hours old. Cheesemaking begins almost immemdiately, starting with pasteurization and the addition of starter cultures. After being left to ‘ripen’, microbial rennet is added to coagulate the milk, which is then hand cut.
The excess whey is drained off and the remaining curds are “cheddared” to achieve the right moisture and pH level before being put through a mill and finally transferred into molds for pressing.
Created in 2006, Beehive’s first cheese was Barely Buzzed, an eighteen pound wheel that is coated with a blend of expresso coffee and lavender. The concept for the cheese was arrived at somewhat randomly. Tim Welsh’s brother owns a company in Grand Junction, Co, called Colorado Legacy Fine Coffee and Beehive sells bags of roasted coffee in their store. One day, they decided to experiment with the cheese by applying the roasted coffee blended with lavender to see how it worked out.
After several tries, they felt they had got the blend right and took the wheel to a family party where it was a hit. After getting some positive feedback from a number of American Cheese Society judges, Barely Buzzed was submitted to the ACS competition in 2007 and won a first place ribbon.
For production, the one day old cheeses are hand-rubbed with the “Beehive Blend” of lavender together with a mix of South American, Central American, and Indonesian coffee beans. After the rub is applied to the cheese, wheel are aged approximately eight months before release.