Swaledale Cheese Company goes from strength to strength after family tragedy

For the Richmond cheese making siblings Sam and Louise Reed, it has been a challenging and emotional year. In February of last year, their mother, Mandy Reed, the Swaledale Cheese legend, suddenly died at 47 due to a freezing burst of weather. This tragedy followed in the wake of their father David’s death in 2005, which was caused by a heart attack.

The Swaledale Cheese Company was founded in 1987 by Mandy and David, and her recent passing portends a possible threat to the future of one of the UK’s best-loved and most popular cheese makers. The siblings, Sam and Louise, have been thrust into the spotlight unexpectedly, as they promise to continue the traditions of the family and the business. They also pledge to continue making the renowned Yorkshire cheeses.

At 26, Louise will stand as the company’s sales director. She said that she did not have to think about it at all and the issue was never a question as they had known cheese all their lives. She and her brother sat down and made the decision to just focus on making things work for the first year.

Less than a year after the dreadful winter day when their mother died, the brother and sister have reasons to smile again. Not only have they been able to survive for 11 months, they have also managed to thrive and have managed to win major awards.

Under their management, the Swaledale Cheese Company won the 2012 Food Producer Herriot Award, the silver and gold rosettes from the World Cheese Awards, and the championship prize for the Great Yorkshire Show.

The Yorkshire cheese maker produces a wide variety of cheeses including Smoked Richmond, Swaledale Blue, Old Peculiar and the Bedale. The Reed siblings have been planning to take their business to another level in 2013, and will focus on encompassing their 2012 achievements.