Troegs Brewery and Caputo Brothers Creamery partner on new product

Jessica Aiello, contributing writer//May 15, 2019

Troegs Brewery and Caputo Brothers Creamery partner on new product

Jessica Aiello, contributing writer//May 15, 2019

When Troegs Brewery opened a new tasting loft and kitchen in December 2018 at its brewpub in Derry Township, its owners went in search of locally made mozzarella for their pizza.

Their search led them to Caputo Brothers Creamery in Spring Grove, York County, better known for paper than for dairy products.

“They taught us how to make mozzarella in-house,” said John Trogner, one of the two brothers who founded Troegs in 1996.

The creamery returned the favor after it was approached by Giant Food Stores about making a cheese that highlights a local brewery’s beer. Given the potential volume of cheese and beer needed, Troegs seemed the natural choice.

Now the two companies are gearing up to introduce a beer-infused cheese that will be available this summer at most midstate Giant and Martin’s Food Stores.

A ‘beer-forward’ cheese

Caputo Brothers Creamery is no stranger to infusing cheese with beer. Five years ago, it won a grant through Sam Adams Brewery’s “Brewing the American Dream” competition, which looks to highlight artisan food companies.

The creamery ended up making two cheeses that used Sam Adams beer. One was a washed rind cheese, where the cheese is made first, and then the outside is washed with beer. The other was a dry hopped cheese, where the hops are incorporated directly into the cheese.

“From a production point of view, we couldn’t scale those types of cheese,” said Rynn Caputo, co-owner of the creamery along with her husband, David. “So when we met with the Trogner brothers we had to figure out what cheese would really showcase the beer but was easy to scale. Collectively we determined that a beer-forward cheese needs a washed curd cheese.”

Chris Trogner, left, and his brother John, co-owners and founders of Troegs Brewery. -Submitted

The Caputos and Trogners played around with different beers and cheeses until they had a eureka moment. Troegenator, a double bock beer available year-round, was the perfect choice.

“Troegenator is like liquid bread,” said Trogner. “You get rich caramel notes that still lets the milk taste of the cheese come through.”

Caputo Brothers Creamery received a $425,741 grant from Pennsylvania’s Dairy Investment program to help pay for a 4,000-square-foot addition to its 8,000-square-foot cheese production facility and purchase related equipment.

Caputo Brothers Creamery already sells cheeses across Central Pennsylvania, due in part to its close relationship with Cumberland County-based Giant Food Stores.

“To say this relationship is a fairytale is an understatement,” said Caputo. “Normally it is very difficult to distribute food products due to safety issues and regulations. But Giant and others are making a commitment to supporting local businesses. I cannot express enough how they’re trying to make a positive impact on the farmers in this region.”

For businesses considering collaboration, Trogner recommends finding partners that are like-minded and creative.

“But the collaboration has to make sense; don’t do it just for marketing reasons,” he said. “It has to be authentic or people will see right through it.”

Derry-Township based Troegs is known for partnerships with food producers across Central Pennsylvania for both its beer and snack-bar menu items. Troegs partners with a pork producer in Perry County, a vegetable grower north of Hershey and a barley grower in Mt. Joy.

According to Trogner, the brewing industry is collaborative in nature.

“We like to help out since we have such great relationships with suppliers, especially for hops and barley,” he said. “We help new and smaller breweries get these ingredients and assist with their lab testing. Customers appreciate that, giving them more diverse options in their beer

Rynn Caputo with her husband, David, co-owners of Caputo Brothers Creamery. -Submitted


Caputo agrees: “Our success is almost 100 percent dependent on thinking outside the box. Being open-minded makes all the difference. It’s easy not to step outside your comfort zone, but this collaboration will be great for everyone’s business and make a significant micro-economic impact on local dairy farmers.”

“Sometimes we forget where we fit into the larger community,” added Caputo. “But this effort shows the power that what we all have in common, that we’re a part of the Central PA community and we understand the impact we have. We need more of that.”