The Victory Cheese Project is a volunteer, grassroots collective of cheese professionals – including cheesemakers, cheesemongers, chefs, and cheese guilds from across the country. They’ve come together to help their struggling industry, which has been deeply affected by Covid-19, and custom stickers are helping them win their marketing efforts with a branded piece of art.
American cheese is vulnerable as restaurants sit empty and grocery shoppers re-focus on basics. The demand for speciality cheese has dwindled, and that creates uncertainty for family dairy farms, cheesemakers, distributors, restaurants, and specialty retailers. "Our love and energy for this industry is boundless," says Molly Browne, education manager for the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin and an instigator for the Victory Cheese Project. "We’ll stop at nothing to ensure the vitality and viability of one of America’s most delicious natural resources."
In only a couple months of existence, Victory Cheese has had more than 120 cheese businesses register their interest in the program so far, and 45 vendors have brought a Victory Cheese box to fruition. Box vendors have reported great success selling these boxes, and Browne's personal favorite cheesemaker, Andy Hatch of Uplands Creamery in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, sold more than 400 boxes in 3 weeks. According to Browne, he included cheese from two neighboring cheesemakers, and all told, brought close to $20k in for three small cheesemakers and their rural communities. The sale of Hatch's box also generated a significant donation to the local food bank, meaning the contents of this box and the message of these stickers reaches far and wide.
Each Victory Cheese box has a curated selection of cheese and delicacies, plus a custom Victory Cheese die cut sticker that allows the customer to show their pride in supporting this project. "The stickers that you provided have been the single, unifying piece of marketing in the thousands of boxes that have been sold across the country since we launched," says Browne. "In spite of the many urgent stories in the recent news cycle, Victory Cheese has received some decent press coverage, and there is more on the way." They have interviews in major magazines, and their PR team is gearing up for a second wave of media outreach to bring more vendors into the box program as we head into an atypical holiday season for the sales cycle.
This is an example of a small project that has a big impact, and demonstrates how passionate people can rally around a cause and succeed. While times might be tough, with a little cheese and some stickers, victory might be closer than we think.
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