Rooted in Wisconsin...
The Lindemann family has been in the dairy trade in Wisconsin since the 19th century when our great-great-grandfather, Herman, settled in Liberty Township not far from our Pine River plant. He emigrated from Prussia in 1870, and established his dairy farm on 155 acres of pristine woodland in 1886.
Gustav, our great-grandfather, left the family farm to earn his Dairy Certificate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Agriculture in 1895. There he studied under Dr. Stephen M. Babcock, inventor of the Babcock Test. This test determined the butter value of milk and helped cheese makers manufacture a more consistent product. Gustav worked first as a farm hand and then as a cheese maker at a cheese factory in Denmark, Wisconsin. Considered a pioneer in the cheese and butter industry, he co-founded Northern Wisconsin Produce Co. in Manitowoc in 1907. The new company assembled, warehoused and sold Wisconsin cheese nationwide.
Our grandfather, Oscar E., joined Gustav in 1918 after his graduation from Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin. Working first as a cheese warehouseman, he helped expand the business to include cold storage and merchandising of cheese, butter, eggs and poultry. Like his father, he was a Director-Member of the Wisconsin Cheese Exchange in Plymouth, Wisconsin, and was also a Licensed Wisconsin Cheese Grader. Oldest son, Oscar G., came onboard in 1946 specializing in buying and selling cheese, an activity his family carries on to this day. Youngest son, Philip C., joined in 1954 before founding a spin-off division in 1963.
Pine River Incorporates
Philip C., our father, incorporated Pine River Pre-Pack independently in 1964. Besides packaging natural cuts of cheese, his new company began making Cold Pack Cheese Food using his own special recipe. Being a Licensed Wisconsin Cheese Grader, he always selected the best cheese for his Cold Pack blends. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, he experimented with innovative flavors and new packaging technology to keep the product fresher and more convenient to use. By the 1980s, he was making pasteurized-process cheese spread, chocolates, and added summer sausage, nuts and snacks to our product line. Under his leadership, Pine River won accolades and awards for its products around the country. In 1996, he registered the domain name pineriver.com and maintained our web site after his retirement in 1997.
A New Generation
As youths in the 1970's and 80's, we gained first hand experience learning the cheese industry by working closely with our father before assuming the managerial duties after his retirement. Philip A., a Licensed Wisconsin Cheese Grader, oversees the procurement of the finest cheeses and other ingredients for our award winning products. He works with our Operations Manager, Ian Behm, on day-to-day production scheduling, supplier and customer satisfaction, and assuring all products are manufactured to our high quality and safety standards. Philip, along with our Marketing Director Mary Lindemann, attend numerous trade shows throughout the year to showcase our products. Barth maintains the company's archives and fiscal records, is responsible for the IT infrastructure, and serves as Secretary-Treasurer and CFO.
Philip A. Lindemann, Jr.
Barth M. Lindemann
Wisconsin’s Rich Resources
We take pride in the quality of the cheese spreads and chocolates we manufacture and of our standout customer service. Our team of talented employees is integral to our continued success. Having the rich resources of Wisconsin's dairy products right in our own backyard help create our award-winning products. Our plant is nestled in a hilly landscape, dotted with dairy farms, near the Lake Michigan shore. It is truly special being rooted here in America’s Dairyland.
About Our Cheese Spread
We combine more than four generations of experience in the cheese business with today’s precision processing techniques to make our cheese spreads. In 2011, we built a new manufacturing facility that doubled our production capacity with two state-of-the-art cutters that assure standout flavor and texture. In 2016, our cheese manufacturing became SQF (Safe Quality Food) level 3 which is the highest level attainable. Our dedicated staff skillfully crafts our cheese spreads creating perfection in every batch.
Pine River makes two types of cheese spread: Cold Pack and Snack Spread. They are distinguished by the method of mixing and ingredients. Both are packaged fresh in durable poly tubs with high-speed filling, sealing and labeling machines. Containers range from consumer sizes for home use (5 to 32 ounce tubs) to institutional portions for restaurant and deli use (5, 10, 24 or 30 pound buckets). Traditional stoneware crocks are also classic cheese spread packages we produce.
Cold Pack Cheese Food
Cold Pack is made by blending cuts of Grade A--Wisconsin State Brand--Natural Cheddar, aged nine months, with cream and other dairy ingredients. These components are processed until a smooth texture is achieved. Herbs, spices or nuts are added to create our award-winning flavors. Cold Pack Cheese Food, the official name, signifies that the product is made without the aid of heat. It remains as similar as possible to natural cuts of cheese but with the advantage of being in a convenient spreadable form. It’s a good source of Protein, Calcium, and Phosphorus. Sometimes called Club Cheese, the first Cold Pack was made in the early 20th century. In those early days, it was served in stoneware crocks as an appetizer at supper clubs and taverns in Wisconsin.
Cheese Snack Spread
Snack Spread is made by blending cuts of Grade A--Wisconsin State Brand--Natural Cheddar and other choice ingredients. A variety of popular flavors are made by adding herbs or spices. In processing, it is heated to destroy active microorganisms. This pasteurization process makes it less sensitive to temperature changes in shipping and storage. It’s perfect for gift baskets and boxes or in situations when constant refrigeration is not possible. Snack Spread contains more moisture, but less fat and calories, than Cold Pack or natural cuts of Cheddar. This gives it a softer consistency so it can be served as a spread, a dip or warmed to create a sauce.
Private Label-Custom Flavors
We produce an array of imaginative cheese spread flavors for private label customers. Delis, cheese shops, and marketers requesting our experience to help invent exciting combinations such as Horseradish-Bacon and Spinach-Onion or to use additional cheese varieties including Provolone, Pepper Jack, Gouda, Brick, and Bleu. Wineries create blends with their Pinot Grigio, Blackberry wine and breweries with their signature craft beers. A minimum order of one thousand pounds and a two week lead time are required. Please contact us for more information.
About Our Chocolates
Pine River began crafting chocolates in 1986 in response to a strong demand for the chocolate almond bark featured in our school fund-raising brochures. We steadily expanded our repertoire with traditional combinations of milk chocolate, truffle fillings, pretzels, cookies, and caramel with nuts. Our caramel is made from scratch using Wisconsin cream and real vanilla extract. Each candy is enrobed with molten chocolate kept at the perfect temperature. This artful tempering gives the candy a lustrous finish and velvety texture. We even recreated our mother’s homemade holiday “turtles” with milk chocolate, caramel and pecans. They became our best-selling and award-winning Pecan Jamborees®.
Our classic chocolates are available in bulk cases for repackagers. Our enrobers coat caramel with nuts, pretzels and cookies with milk chocolate or confectioners coating. Candies can be accented with sprinkles of colored sugar or crushed nuts. We also repackage bulk nuts, snack mixes, and candies using a high-speed vertical bagging system. Metallized-poly, stay-fresh bags are heat-sealed and range in size from single to multiple servings weighing 4 to 11 ounces.