Butlers can say cheese with the biggest smile!

Maker: Gill Hall, who is a third generation cheesemaker at Butlers Cheeses, Inglewhite.
Maker: Gill Hall, who is a third generation cheesemaker at Butlers Cheeses, Inglewhite.

Cheese made in the Longridge area have been making headlines recently and one which has seen sales of its regional cheese increase by a whopping 129% in a year is Butlers Farmhouse Cheese.

“Shoppers opt for locally produced, traditional cheeses in place of continental products and standard cheddars, and this has led Asda to increase its range by 75% since July 2011,” was the report from the Inglewhite-based company.

Butlers sold its first pre-packs of Lancashire cheese to Asda in 1992. Previously, they had only sold cheese in large pieces to farm shops so pre-packing was quite innovative for a small farmhouse producer. Now, more than 20 years on, the family run cheesemaker is supplying six of its farmhouse cheeses to more than 60 Asda stores across the north west, including Preston, Accrington, Burnley, Bolton and Bury. The range includes Butlers Blacksticks Blue, Butlers Farmhouse Crumbly Lancashire, Creamy Lancashire, Tasty Lancashire, Double Gloucester and Red Leicester.

Since its involvement with Asda, the company - which has a herd of 100 cows on the family farm - has seen sales grow to over 10,000 packs of cheese per week.

Peter Elvin, marketing manager, said: “Having a presence in Asda stores has meant we’ve exposed our range to an audience we may not have previously been able to access. We’ve found advocates in the form of Asda shoppers in the north west for our range who are always keen to try out the new variations to our cheeses.

“As the shopping habits of the British public continue to change, we’re finding there is a noticeable shift in attitude towards supporting the region’s local suppliers and it’s been great we’ve been able to harness this with Asda’s support.”

Jon Hollingsworth, local cheese buyer at Asda, added: “After decades of well-known cheddars and cheeses from our continental cousins dominating sales, we’re seeing a huge shake-up of the market as shoppers look to expand their cheeseboard. Butlers is a really good example of how a regional cheese has taken off in our stores as shoppers are exposed to a local brand they may never have had access to before. Moving forward, we hope to work with more and more local suppliers and help get their product to market.”