US-based cheese manufacturer Heartisan Foods is to buy local peer North Country Packaging.

Both companies are based in Barron County in Wisconsin.

Heartisan Foods, which is backed by Ronin Private Equity, is using a $10m credit line from the buyout house to finance the purchase.

Ronin formed Heartisan Foods in 2021 by acquiring and merging three specialists in flavoured and smoked cheese – Red Apple Cheese, Barron County Cheese, and the direct-to-consumer e-commerce business Cheese Brothers.

Heartisan’s flavoured and smoked cheese is distributed across the US through more than 12,000 retail outlets and is also available through online sales.

The company sells its products under the brand names Red Apple Cheese, Cheese Brothers and Naturally Good Kosher.

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North Country’s product portfolio ranges from tomato and sweet basil curds to habanero ghost pepper spreads.

The deal will triple Heartisan Foods’ manufacturing capacity, support the “fast-growing” Cheese Brothers, and allow the company to launch products in the cheese spreads and cheese curds categories, helping the business grow in the cheese-snack segment.

The added capacity comes at “just the right time” for Heartisan Foods, given the manufacturer is running production at full capacity, the company added.

“The expanded capacity will enhance our margins and give us better control of the supply chain, fulfilment, and quality,” Tiffany Bell, a Ronin partner and Heartisan Foods board member, said.

“Expanding capacity and driving innovation in new flavours and product categories shows our retail and consumer partners how committed we are to supporting their needs and driving growth.”

Barron-headquartered Heartisan Foods has an annual revenue of “more than $50m” and it “has seen sales and profits rise 30% since its creation,” the statement announcing the deal said.

“With 32 different North Country cheese spreads and cheese curds to choose from, Heartisan’s customers now have a different flavour to enjoy every day of any month,” Heartisan Foods CEO Gene Graf added.

North Country’s co-founder Kendall Goossen is going to take up a senior executive role at Heartisan Foods. He and his wife Maria will retain a “significant stake” in the combined entity, Heartisan Foods said.