New York-based Ronin Equity Partners said it acquired Red Apple Cheese (a producer of smoked, flavored and kosher specialty cheeses), Barron County Cheese (a major smoker and copacker for the specialty cheese industry), and Cheese Brothers (an ieCommerce specialty cheese business). The combined company will be an omni-channel and vertically integrated market leader in smoked, flavored and kosher cheese, as well as an independent brand consolidator in a fragmented U.S. premium cheese and charcuterie market.
“We’re creating a powerful combination of ambitious companies — steeped in family-owned Wisconsin and New England traditions — and Ronin, which has the operational and market expertise in the cheese and consumer packaged goods space to turbocharge growth,” said Gene Graf, co-founder of Cheese Brothers and Barron County Cheese.
According to Ronin, Graf will lead operations for the new company. Cheese Brothers’ other co-founder, Eric Ludy, will lead marketing and eCommerce alongside one of Ronin’s partners, Tiffany Bell, who will step in as chief financial officer. The group will be led by David Toy, who is joining as CEO from his previous role as chief commercial officer of Sauer Brands and Kraft Heinz, where he led the foodservice business. Existing management and the acquired companies’ founders will retain a significant stake in the new group.
“We’re incredibly excited about this partnership and felt the investment was perfect for us,” says Ronin managing partner David Feierstein. “We want to enable motivated, passionate founders and executives in fragmented industries, using our financial muscle and operational expertise to execute accelerated roll-ups.”