David Gremmels, Rogue Creamery president and the visionary behind such cheeses as the 2019/20 World Champion cheese, Rogue River Blue, has been recognized with the American Cheese Society (ACS) Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 2005, it was Gremmels himself who petitioned ACS to introduce a Lifetime Achievement Award. The organization’s first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award honored Gremmels’ mentor, Ignazio “Ig” Vella, now remembered as, “The Godfather of Artisanal Cheese.”  Now, 17 years later, David Gremmels has been inducted into his mentor’s esteemed company. 

Peg Smith of Cowgirl Creamery introduced the award at the ceremony on Friday, July 22, as “an honor that is given to someone whose professional accomplishments have made a significant impact in the American Cheese Society and in the American Cheese Industry, and has earned the respect of professional colleagues.”

In his more than three decades promoting cheese and 20-year career at the helm of Rogue Creamery, Gremmels has led many initiatives for his company and the cheese industry, both domestically and abroad. In addition to serving as a former president and chair of ACS, he helped launch the American Cheese Education Foundation (ACEF), founded the Oregon Cheese Guild, and created the now nationally-recognized Oregon Cheese Festival.

Gremmels was essential in facilitating the first-ever export of raw milk, USA-made cheese to Europe, and he made history when Rogue Creamery’s Rogue River Blue was honored as the World Champion Cheese at the World Cheese Awards, the first and only American cheese ever to earn this accolade. Over the course of Gremmels’ career, Rogue Creamery has also won two ACS Best of Show Awards, a SIAL Innovation Award, and dozens of other honors. And every step of the way, David Gremmels and his company have influenced a dedicated community of cheese makers and cheese lovers all over the world.

“I am humbled, honored and inspired by this recognition. I have not only found my community, extended family and friends through the American Cheese Society, but my life’s work,” said Gremmels. “I am grateful to Rogue Creamery’s team and the cheesemakers and mongers, buyers, brokers, and representatives that share our progressive story each day.”

Under Gremmels’ leadership, Rogue Creamery has become a leader in sustainability in the cheese industry. Rogue was Oregon’s first B Corporation and has consistently ranked in the top 10% of B Corps (top 5% in 2021) worldwide since 2017. In 2021, The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy awarded Rogue with the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award for Outstanding Dairy Processing and Manufacturing. Earlier this year, Oregon Business Magazine ranked the cheesemaker number one on their annual Best Green Workplaces in Oregon list.

“In my life and business, I’ve always led with three words: safe, healthy, and positive,” commented Gremmels in his acceptance speech. “And it was during a session at the American Cheese Society conference in Providence that I was inspired to add one more term to that vision: other-centered… These five words together, they guide me. I invite you to please join me in making a difference that is safe, healthy, positive, and other-centered.”