A one-of-a-kind creamery in the South Central area of Pennsylvania is bringing the succulent taste of Italian cheeses to homes and restaurants in the United States.
In this Salute to American Success, we’re taking a look at Caputo Brothers Creamery. The company created by David and Rynn Caputo- and named after their sons Giovanni and Matteo- has been making authentic, handmade Italian cheeses since 2011. In early December 2014, the Caputos won the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room competition. The program helps small business owners perfect their sales pitches. STARTING OFF David and Rynn Caputo decided to enter the cheese-making industry on the second morning of their honeymoon. The two left their successful careers at large companies in the U.S. to head to Italy. There, they took a Master’s-type class at a school in the Calabria region that focused on culinary education. When the Caputos returned home from Italy, they decided to start their own cheese business, one of the very few in the U.S. to offer Cagliata curds to customers. These curds allow consumers to create their own stretch cheeses, like mozzarella, at home. BREWING THE AMERICAN DREAM COMPETITION Recently, their director of Culinary Experiences found the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room competition and brought it to the attention of the Caputos. When asked what she thought the chances were at winning, she said: “Absolutely, we’re going to crush that.” After a doing well in the regional competition, David and Rynn qualified for the finals. They traveled to New York City in December of 2014 to compete. There, they faced other small businesses in the food and beverage industry, including coffee, beer and beef jerky companies. Rynn admitted, “the competition was intimidating.” After winning the competition, the Caputos were rewarded with a grand prize of a $10,000 grant and a year worth of mentoring from Samuel Adams employees. At the finals event, they even spoke with Samuel Adams founder, Jim Koch. PUTTING THE MONEY TO WORK In October of 2014, they opened their latest extension, a restaurant, called La Tavola, which means “the table” in Italian. Soon after their victory at the Samuel Adams competition, the Caputos are already putting the $10,000 grant towards their Spring Grove, Pennsylvania-based creamery. “The grant is going towards building the new production facility, which will allow us to produce enough cheese in a day versus what we can currently make in a week,” said Rynn Caputo. The couple chose to build the creamery in the South Central area of Pennsylvania because of certain food laws the state has. “We chose the location in Pennsylvania since the state has good milk laws. The laws allow us to make the food products at our house and sell them to the public,” said Rynn. “Regulations impact us more than the economy.” LOOKING FORWARD Already expanding the business, Rynn Caputo sees a bright future for the creamery. Caputo Brothers Creamery already offers cooking classes to the local community and strives to educate the public about cheeses. “I envision us making an impact in the mozzarella industry, just like Samuel Adams made on the beer industry,” she said. “We’re doing something the right way… paying farmers a fair price for milk, doing right by the Italian tradition. When you do the right thing, amazing things happen.”
Rynn Caputo also offered advice to other small businesses. “Don’t be afraid to make crazy decisions. The risk and reward is worth it,” she said. “All businesses can help each other.” As for her business, she said, “we are the mozzarella revolution.”