Case Study: Tucumcari Mountain Cheese Factory

14 Feb, 2018

Born and raised on the Krause Dairy in Wisconsin, Chuck Krause has more than 40 years of experience making cheese.  He is a fourth-generation cheese maker; his family made cheddar for Kraft. After the Krause Dairy was sold in 1988 to Frigo Cheese, Chuck worked for Frigo for several years, launching and troubleshooting cheese plants throughout California.  In 1995 he located to Tucumcari and purchased an old Coca-Cola bottling plant which happened to be perfect for making cheese. While cheddar requires aging and is a highly-competitive market, Krause found his niche in Feta. In 2008, Tucumcari Mountain's feta received second place in the Biennial World Champion Cheese Competition (second only to a Denmark cheese company), which made it the number one cheese of choice among U.S. customers.

About the Company

  • Started in Tucumcari in 1995
  • Existing facility is 22,500 square feet
  • Produces 6 million pounds of Feta (Ithaki brand) per year (20,000 pounds per day)
  • In 2008 the company’s Feta took second and third place in the Biennial World Champion Cheese Competition. 
  • Started organic brand, Native Pastures
  • Other cheeses the company makes: Ricotta, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Edam, Gouda, Asiago, Romano and Asadaro

About the Expansion

  • New 30,000 square foot warehouse with coolers, packaging and distribution
  • New Ricotta production room, space for a semi-continuous Alpma cheese machine, and new offices that will house an instructional classroom
  • Will initially increase Feta production by 50% or 30,000 pounds daily, with the capacity to increase to 60,000 pounds daily
  • Ten new jobs

Economic Development Toolbox

  • City of Tucumcari LEDA investment of $141,830
  • State of New Mexico LEDA investment of $200,000

"New Mexico has a quality dairy industry and now a business environment that is friendly to manufacturers. I look forward to producing and exporting even more of my product within and outside of New Mexico's borders."
Chuck Krause, Founder & CEO

New Mexico is a Top Mover in Adjusted Export Value per Manufacturing & Service Worker, moving from a ranking of 50 to 26 in four years. (2014 State New Economy Index)

New Mexico's business-friendly climate includes a gross receipts tax exemption on all consumables used in production, including electricity and natural gas.