Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Marin French Cheese Company Announces New Owner


Succession of award-winning company to French artisan cheesemaking group

Petaluma, CA, April 26, 2011 –Marin French Cheese Company and Rians today announce that they have entered into a final agreement in which the 146-year-old California cheese company will be acquired by Rians, a family-owned French cheese company. The purchase agreement is subject to customary closing conditions and the transaction is expected to be completed in May 2011.

Jim Boyce, owner of Marin French Cheese since 1998, had considered an alliance prior to his untimely death in September of 2010. He had met with potential partners, domestic and foreign cheese producers, during the past few years searching for the perfect match to continue the spirit and philosophy he created during his ownership. Kris Otis, Boyce’s wife, continued Jim’s search along with the company’s board of directors, carefully reviewing options prior to making this final decision. “Jim met several years ago with Hugues Triballat to forge this partnership,” says Ms. Otis, “The Board and I feel that Rians understands and will preserve Jim’s vision.”

Details of the acquisition include completion of expansion plans for the cheese plant and aging facilities; ongoing support of community projects; stewardship of the company’s 700 acres of Marin County land, including public picnic areas and the retail store; and retention of all members of the Marin French staff. Longtime Marin French manager, Maxx Sherman, will transition to a new role as Director of National Sales. “Marin French’s cheese making know-how, care of the employees, preservation of the terroir and consideration for the generations of people who love to visit ‘the Cheese Factory’, will be in good hands with Rians,” Otis adds.

In 2006 Rians purchased neighboring Sonoma artisan goat cheese producer, Laura Chenel’s Chèvre and recently completed building a new state-of-the-art creamery. Marie Lesoudier, General Manager of Laura Chenel’s Chèvre will oversee all activities at Marin French Cheese Company. “While we have created a tremendous partnership, each company’s operations will remain separate,” says Lesoudier. “Both companies will share their expertise in production, marketing and distribution in order to provide consumers the finest hand-made artisan cheeses from Northern California.”

Over the years, Marin French soared to international acclaim for its Triple Creme Brie while accumulating record awards nationally for its line of traditional French-style and American original soft-ripening cheeses. Rians, also known as Laiteries H. Triballat, is a family-owned French artisan cheese company operating 15 creameries in France, Argentina, Spain and the U.S. Rians strategy is to select the highest quality producers of authentic artisan products who will benefit from their expertise and support. “We are honored to continue the work started by the Thompson Family in 1865 and perpetuated by Jim Boyce,” says Hugues Triballat, Rians Chief Executive Officer. “We respect Marin French’s traditions and fine cheesemaking and will preserve the regional identity of the brand, while blending in our history and expertise to grow the company.”


Rians is the brand identity of Laiteries H. Triballat, a family-owned French company with a portfolio of artisan cheese plants making AOP (appellation) cheeses such as Epoisse, Langres, Selles-Sur-Cher, Crottin de Chavignol, and Rocamadour. Hubert Triballat, the company’s founder, began making cheese in Rians, a small village in the Sancerre region of central France, in 1952. Today, Laiteries H. Triballat is a leader in specialty cheeses in Europe and the United States. The Triballat family is known for investing in the future of the specialty cheese industry while preserving the fine cheesemaking traditions of the past.

Marin French Cheese Company is the oldest cheese manufacturer in the USA and a unique part of American history. Known by locals as The Cheese Factory and by its brand name, Rouge et Noir, Marin French has produced hand-crafted artisan soft-ripened cheese since 1865. Rouge et Noir cheeses are based on French and European varieties but reflect the characteristics of Northern California, producing their own regional styles, including original California Brie and Camembert along with other award-winning cheeses.