Award-winning artisanal cheese maker Jackie Whittaker of Castell Gwyn Limited is expanding its manufacturing business in North Wales with a £ 13,000 investment in its own micro-dairy.
The Development Bank of Wales micro-loan means that Jackie, a longtime cheese enthusiast and International Cheese Awards regular judge, will purchase a 500-liter cheese vat and cheese press that will allow her to increase the production of its soft cheeses and start producing hard cheeses.
Castell Gwyn provides local delicatessens, specialty cheese shops, farm shops and restaurants including Gwinllan Conwy Winery and Bryn Williams Bistro in Porth Eirias. Its award-winning cheeses are also available online.
Jackie Whittaker explains: “I have been producing and selling cheese for a few years now, first started at the Food Technology Center in Anglesey, then rented a dairy in Llandudno. I have now built a tailor-made micro-dairy. The vision has always been to create my own dairy and to make Castell Gwyn a recognized brand.
“I produce a range of fresh, award-winning spreadable cheeses with delicious flavors. The freshness of the milk, collected from our friends at Mostyn Dairies, makes Castell Gwyn cheese a luxury product because we use Jersey-Cross cow’s milk. It helps keep our food miles extremely low. We operate to high environmental health standards and have been awarded a 5 * Food Hygiene Rating by Denbighshire County Council and are also in the process of obtaining SALSA (Safe and Local Supplier Approval) accreditation.
“The success of my soft cheeses means that now is the time to expand and grow the business by increasing capacity, but I just couldn’t think of growth without the support of the Business Development Bank and the addition of a 500 liter tank. cheese vat. Their funding helps me make the transition to a business looking to compete in the domestic market and this help has been invaluable. I am happy that they believe in my business and its potential.
Alex Baines is Head of Investments at the Development Bank of Wales. He said: “Jackie has the passion and the drive to turn her love of cheese into a successful business that showcases the best local produce North Wales has to offer. Our micro-credit financing means that it now has the facilities and capacity to develop Castell Gwyn and maximize growth potential. “
The £ 30million Wales Micro Loan Fund is funded by the Welsh government. Loans between £ 1,000 and £ 50,000 are available with repayment terms ranging from one to ten years. Small businesses, sole traders and social enterprises based in Wales or wishing to set up in Wales can apply.