American Cheese Society Celebrates 35th Annual Conference and Competition in Pittsburgh, July 25-28

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‘Forged in Cheese’ to culminate with public celebration featuring more than 2,000 cheeses

Forged In Cheese will culminate with a public celebration featuring sampling of more than 2,000 artisan cheeses and specialty food and beverages

It is a testament to how strong the cheese community truly is. Pretty much anyone who cares about making, selling, and enjoying great cheese comes together for education, networking, and camaraderie.

Over 1,400 cheese and specialty food professionals are expected to attend the American Cheese Society’s (ACS) 35th Annual Conference & Competition, ‘Forged in Cheese’ at The David L. Lawrence Convention Center, in Pittsburgh, Penn., July 25-28, 2018. More than 2,000 different cheese products are expected to be judged in the world-renowned ACS Judging & Competition, with the top cheeses named ‘Best of Show’. The public can sample and purchase competition cheeses at the Festival of Cheese and Cheese Sale on Saturday, July 28, from 7:00 – 9:30pm. Proceeds from the Cheese Sale benefit the nonprofit American Cheese Education Foundation. Tickets can be purchased at

Acknowledged as the foremost educational gathering for the cheese industry in North America, the ACS Conference and Competition broke all previous records in 2017, with 2,024 entries of cheeses and cultured dairy products from 281 companies, a 10 percent growth over the prior year. 36 U.S. states, four Canadian provinces, Mexico, and Colombia were represented, with a similar attendance expected in Pittsburgh at the 35th Annual Conference.

“It’s exciting to see the growth of this event each year,” said Nora Weiser, executive director of ACS. “It is a testament to how strong the cheese community truly is. Cheesemakers, buyers, retailers, distributors – pretty much anyone who cares about making, selling, and enjoying great cheese – comes together for education, networking, and camaraderie. Business gets done, connections get made, and friendships get solidified. There is really no other professional industry event quite like it!” she added.

The ACS Judging & Competition will take place over two days, with winners announced at the Awards Ceremony on Fri., July 27. A panel of internationally renowned judges will evaluate the entries for their aesthetic and technical merits. Last year’s ‘Best of Show’ was ‘Tarentaise Reserve’ from Spring Brook Farm /Farms for City Kids Foundation in Vermont. ‘St. Malachi’ from The Farm at Doe Run in Pennsylvania was second, while third place Best of Show was awarded to ‘Harbison’ from Cellars at Jasper Hill in Vermont. 2018 winners will be highlighted at the “Festival of Cheese” on July 28, where conference attendees and the general public can taste competition cheeses while sampling craft beer, cider and specialty foods from artisan producers around the country.

Education plays a central role at the ACS Conference, including:

  •     Opening keynote: ‘Ignite Your Goals: Simple steps to accomplish more and accelerate your success,’ presented by Gerry O’Brion, author of What Big Brands Know.
  •     More than 40 educational sessions geared toward cheesemakers, retailers and distributors.
  •     Sensory Deep Dive: ‘How Sweet Are You? The Science of Taste’ session with Russell Smith of Dairy Australia (one session offered each day).
  •     First come, first serve tasting sessions, including ‘Celebrating a Fermentation Renaissance’, ‘Drink the Apples – Eat the Cheese!’, ‘Old and New Frontiers in Bandaged Cheddar’ and ‘The Cornerstone Project: An American Original’.
  •     ACS Certified Cheese Professional® Exam
  •     Inaugural ACS T.A.S.T.E. Test™ (Technical, Aesthetic, Sensory, Tasting Evaluation)
  •     ‘Meet the Cheesemaker’: Conference attendees can meet and sample cheese and cultured dairy products from more than 100 producers

Registration for Forged in Cheese is available at Press passes are available to qualified individuals upon request.

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Ashley Greco
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