Rather than churning out different products, Grasslands Dairy Products Vice President Trevor Wuethrich says the family business has found success by focusing on butter – and only butter.
“My grandfather decided to do one thing and do it well: focus on butter. And I think that’s why we’re still here today,” says Wuethrich.
The 110-year-old company, which today produces 20% of the butter made in the U.S., watched plenty of competitors fall by the wayside over the years.
“We sustained ourselves over the years, because we’re strictly a butter plant,” says Wuethrich.
More recently, Grasslands Dairy has been helped by an increased appetite for butter, which Wuethrich believes is being driven by health-conscious consumers.
“People want an all-natural, clean product. We’re reading our ingredients statements now, and cream and salt is a pretty short list to put in our mouths,” says Wuethrich.
Because of this renewed interest in butter, Grasslands has slightly shifted its operations. Whereas the Wisconsin-based company used to be able to buy cream from milk-bottlers and cheese-makers, producing 10,000 pounds of butter each hour has grown Grasslands’ demand for cream.
“We’ve needed to secure more fat for that butter … We now bring in 6 million pounds of milk a day for our butter sales,” says Wuethrich. He adds that cream was especially hard to get during the summer season, as ice cream and sour cream companies vied for the same product.
The company says the growing butter demand has also pushed it to expand operations. Grasslands Dairy has grown from approximately 80 employees to 450 over the past few years, according to Wuethrich.
“Today, we’re one of the larger employers in Clark county,” says Wuethrich.