David Gremels, who has led the company since 2002, presented the award at the recent convention of the American Cheese Society
David Gremels, president of Rogue Creamery, communicates with some of the company’s cows. [courtesy photo]
Rogue Creamery President David Gremels will never forget the day he was introduced to the cheese industry.
It was the late 1980s, and Gremels—a design, merchandising, and marketing entrepreneur at the time—found himself inside an Italian cafe in Seattle with a clientele trying Sally Jackson Goat Cheese and Cabrales Blue Cheese.
“I was very surprised by that moment,” Gremels said. “From there, cheese had to be a part of not only my professional life, but every event I was attending and every meal.”
It’s that line of thinking that led the American Cheese Society to present the Gremels a Lifetime Achievement Award during its July convention.
Andsley Eggert, the organization’s marketing manager, issued a prepared statement about Gremels, saying his leadership is an inspiration.
Eggert wrote in an email, “David has inspired not only his team at Rogue Creamery to strive to make great cheese, but the creamery to meet the highest standards in sustainability, innovation and team-member appreciation and pride.” also uplifted.”
Gremels, who earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing, worked at Nordstrom, J.J., before purchasing Rogue Creamery from Ignazio “IG” Vella in 2002. Peterman and Rogue Valley’s own Harry & David, considered the “godfather of the artisan cheese movement”.
“(She) said that if I wanted her cheese, I would have to make it myself. I was so amazed by that suggestion,” Gremels said.
It was the choice between starting a new wine and cheese bar in Ashland or saving the “Icon Valley” business from closure.
“I knew my mother’s admiration would win,” Gremels said.
Over the past two decades, Rogue Creamery has not slowed down, continuing to produce cheese using sustainable business practices in Central Point. Most notably, the business was crowned World Champion at the 2019/20 World Cheese Awards in Bergamo, Italy, for its signature product, Rogue River Blue.
“It was definitely the crown jewel on my career,” Gremels said, “and it was one of the most memorable days of my life at Wicked Creamery. I always like to say that the world leaned on its peel at that time.” happened.”
He says that overall his career “never followed a straight path”, but it is one that presented “both obstacles and opportunities”. At all times, he appreciates the people he met “during my travels”.
Gremmels have taken what they learned from their mentors and blended it into their leadership style. He notes how he has added the words “other-centered” to his business mantra, “Safe, Healthy, Positive.”
“The sight of the evil creamery is just those words,” Gremels said, “affecting one meal at a time.”
Contact reporter Kevin Opshahl at 541-776-4476 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @KevJourno.