Colby Could Become Wisconsin’s State Cheese

by Jan Frazier

Madison, Wisconsin (Washington Insider Magazine) –   Wisconsin is indeed a cheese-obsessed state in the U.S.A. The people in Wisconsin call their state America’s Dairyland. With the cow being the official state animal, it’s no doubt that milk is the official state drink. And cheese, of course, is the official state dairy product.

It is very strange that there is no official state cheese, given the fact that Wisconsin produces more cheese than any other state. Nearly 3.4 billion pounds of cheese is produced each year.

On Wednesday, a state Assembly committee will meet, and a bipartisan bill will be heard. The bill could change the fact that there is no official state cheese.

If the bill is heard and passed, Wisconsin could have a state cheese. Unbelievably, Colby was introduced to Wisconsin over a 100 years ago. If Colby is selected for the state cheese, it could really upset fans of cheddar, swiss, provolone, and other varieties. 

“Colby also holds a special place in Wisconsin cheese history.” A gentleman by the name of Joseph Steinwand created the cheese in the central part of Wisconsin in 1885. The name of the city in which the cheese was created was Colby. According to a state historical marker near Colby, Steinwand created and named the cheese “after the township where his father built northern Clark County’s first cheese factory.”

According to the USDA, the cheese produced the most In Wisconsin is not Colby but rather Mozzarella. It is followed by cheddar and a variety of Italian cheeses. However, “more than 45 million pounds (20 million kilograms) of Colby is produced at Wisconsin’s 150 cheese plants each year.”

For people who are unfamiliar with the Colby brand of cheese, “it is generally thought of as a milder form of cheddar but has more texture and tastes sweeter.”

On Wednesday, the bill will be introduced. It should be noted that it has been introduced several times in the past, including in 2019. It hasn’t, however, been passed. “It would have to clear the state Senate and Assembly, and be signed by Governor Tony Evers, before becoming a law.” 

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