The origins of Woerle's gourmet cheesemaking traditions can be traced back to visionary cheesemaker Johann Baptist Woerle. Around 1870, he began a search to find the ideal conditions for Emmentaler cheese production. Based on the Purity Law of 1889, 125 years of cheese craftsmanship were set to begin as Johann Baptist Woerle established the first Emmentaler cheese enterprise. He knew that the key to making the best cheese was using the best milk, which only cows with a proper diet can produce. WOERLE cheese specialities are produced from valuable, GMO-free hay milk.
The origins of the WOERLE cheese factory
A look back into the second half of the 19th century: The dairy industry was just being discovered in Germany's Allgäu region, as was the art of cheesemaking. By 1874, master cheese crafter Johann Baptist Woerle, who was born in Allgäu, had already registered a commercial cheese enterprise in Rosenheim, Germany. Sales opportunities, however, were limited. As a result, Woerle decided to emigrate to a region where he could more fully devote himself to his passion for cheesemaking in peace. Along with his wife, Marie, he moved from Allgäu to Flachgau near Salzburg, a region under the control of the Hapsburg Monarchy on the Danube. Here, Woerle found a landscape similar to Allgäu, with gentle pastures and meadows, providing ideal conditions for dairy cattle and cheese production.
Company founder Johann Baptist Woerle laid the foundation for the first Emmentaler cheese enterprise in Salzburg, the first of its kind in Austria to refer to itself as an Emmentaler cheese producer. Just how successful his aspirations were is shown by the fact that within just a few years, he was able to employ experienced cheese masters from Switzerland, Allgäu and Tyrol. This allowed for the creation of new cheese specialties in addition to Emmentaler for the company's numerous clients. Over 100 years ago, Johann Baptist Woerle knew the secret to making good cheese: quality, natural milk from the pasture! It was for this reason, that he instituted the Purity Law of 1889, which has been passed down carefully from generation to generation.
"Connected to nature, committed to purity. For the love of good cheese."
Woerle passed on the company, along with all his valuable cheesemaking knowledge, to his two sons, Johann and Josef Woerle. "The Brothers Woerle", as the company located just outside Salzburg would come to be known, transformed from a small cheesemaker to a proud, ever-expanding operation.
In addition to cheese production, which continued to increase in significance, the brothers also began large-scale trade. They supplied customers in Rome, Milan, Budapest, Bratislava, and Prague, in addition to many other European cities, with cheese specialities manufactured according to Woerle recipes and produced strictly according to the "Woerle Purity Law of 1889".
A valuable milestone for the sustained success of the traditional cheese producer was the acquisition of the former "Caspar Moser Bräu" brewery in Henndorf am Wallersee. The company finally had the room it needed to expand. The heart of the building was a cellar with four floors capable of providing optimal climatic conditions for cheese maturation.
More than just cheese craftsmanship alone, the pioneering spirit and courage to innovate precipitated the rise of the family-run business. During one of his many travels, Johann Woerle discovered spreadable cheese, a sort of "cheese fondue to go." Trusting in a technology that was widely unknown in Austria at the time, a cheese-melting plant was established, and accordingly the foundation for further, successful export opportunities was laid.
Hans and Martin Woerle took over the family business, ensuring further success with both dedication and drive. The Emmentaler cheese factory in Henndorf was modernised and the melting plant was shifted to the town of Seekirchen.
Gerhard and Ingo Woerle continued their plans for expansion, founding their own export company as a result of the considerable growth. The brand "Happy Cow“ was born and quickly became established overseas.
At that time, Woerle's family-run enterprise already employed more than 100 workers. Due to strong continuing developments at Woerle in Henndorf, a large, modern 12,000 m2 production and administration complex was established, helping to arm Woerle for all future challenges.
After the death of Ingo Woerle, Gerhard Woerle assumed company leadership.
Cheese producer Mondsee Landkäserei in Oberhofen was acquired. The production of sliced cheese specialities was shifted to the new location, whilst the extensive range of Woerle products was further expanded.
The success continues. Today, Woerle is pleased to be one of Austria's largest and most modern private cheese enterprises. Internationally oriented, Woerle's cheese specialities are not just a domestic favourite, but are enjoyed with increasing popularity in over 70 countries around the world.