The original Barrys Bay Cheese factory was built in 1895 and nestled just at the base of the Onawe Peninsula. In the early days, much of the cheese was enjoyed locally and also exported to Europe. By 1950 Barrys Bay Cheese became renowned on the international stage, winning the ‘Bledisloe Cup’ at the British Dairy Show in 1950.
With business booming, expansion became necessary and our current cheese factory was built in 1953. By all accounts this was the most modern factory in NZ at the time. In those years, we were making 400+ tonnes of cheese per year in 5 open vats, whereas today we only have 1 vat. The main product was Rinded Cheddar, which was made in great big 80 pound (36kg) truckles.
Today, a large viewing window has been installed between the shop and the factory, offering visitors a glimpse into the wonderful world of cheese making and a piece of New Zealand’s local dairy history.
Our cheese making season runs from September to May, when we can get fresh milk from our local cows. We make cheese Monday - Friday and sometimes Saturdays. If you want to stop in for a visit even if we are not cheesemaking, our shop is open all year from 9am to 5pm daily, except for Christmas day.