Bandon cheese woes

Among other things, Bandon, Oregon is known for two things: cranberries and cheese. Whenever we’ve been to Bandon we’d stop at the Bandon Cheese store and indulge in a bit of tasting and shopping. Not long ago, though, someone told me that the Tillamook Creamery had bought and made Bandon Cheese, though still sold it under the Bandon label.

Now I see that Tillamook has closed the Bandon cheese store completely. So, now you can’t even buy Bandon cheese in Bandon? That’s just dumb. What’s worse, the cheese is now being made in Wisconsin—Tillamook can’t even be bothered to make their own cheese?

They’re even goofier than that, according to the Pacific Northwest Cheese Project article I linked to above:

Another aspect of the sordid Tale of Tillamook and Bandon encompasses Tillamook’s misguided pursuit of its newly acquired “Bandon” trademark. Tillamook threatened the city of Bandon, Oregon with a lawsuit for violating its intellectual property by using the name “Bandon.”

Threatened the city itself for violating the trademark? Uh, hello?

Lee on RoguePundit has more on the closure and goofy Tillamook practices, too. Of course, he has a good point:

At one time, the purpose of the store wasn’t just sales, but promoting the brand. Since the brand looks rather hollow when the cheese has to be imported for sale, maybe it’s better to not remind folks that the Bandon Cheeses are just flavors that can be made anywhere. The attractive label with the Coquille River Lighthouse is just marketing.

Although the flavors can’t necessarily be “made” anywhere; cheese acquires some of its characteristics from the types of food the cows (or goats, or whatever milk-producing animal) eats, and that can certainly be regional.

Anyway, I just thought it sucked. That’s one less neat thing about Bandon, and that much more unemployment for Oregon.

9 Replies to “Bandon cheese woes”

  1. Chugger: You’re right – it sucks (but maybe you’ll get some click-thru revenue from the many cheesy Google ads that accompany this posting). Tillamook Dairy mgmt. doesn’t give a rip about the local economy, and half of its cheese is now produced in Boardman (well, at least they kept it in OR). These guys may be smart, but they behave like idiots sometimes. The British phrase: "penny-wise and pound-foolish" comes to mind. Keeping that Bandon shop open is a drop in the big Tilla-cheese bucket, but even that small gesture is a step too far for these Cheesemakers. Makes one wish the Dairy farmers would rise up and re-claim their co-up (kinda like they did last winter in the battle to get rid of hormones in the cows).

  2. Hey next time you’re in Bandon stop at Crossroads music :). No but it all does suck about the cheese factory. It sucks all the way around. Maybe some enterprising, vengeful Bandon person will buy the store and bring back the idea of locally produced cheese. Call it "Dunes" or something, after the golf course.

  3. kaza: Boardman, eh? I think I read something about that… having been through Boardman before, I have a hard time imagining a less likely place for cheesemaking…

    pril: Nahhh, "Dunes" would be a terrible name 🙂 How about Coquille River Cheese or something like that? That’d be cool…

  4. they could call it coquille river, buut now tillamook owns a real nice representation of the lighthouse, so what would they use? they could call it Face Rock or something, and use the silhouette. I just figure the golf course might get in on it somehow and that’s the Bandon Dunes. (its also why you can’t hardly afford a house down there anymore)

  5. Oooh! Face Rock! I like that! 🙂 That’s actually a pretty cool idea. Or… Face Rock Brewing Company… Bandon needs a brewpub…

    Trivia: I worked on an early version of the Bandon Dunes (golf) website, back when they were hosting with my old company (Alpine).

  6. What a cheesy post. 😉

    Dang, I liked the Bandon Cheese store, but it’s been a long time since I was there. I wanted to make it back there last spring, but never did.

  7. Bandon used to have a brewery, back when i first moved to the coast in ’96. They did custom beer for some of the bars in Coos Bay (like Wanda’s). Coos Bay had a great brewpub, too, the Bank Brewery, but someone bought the farm in a knife fight outside and the place ended up being sold to become the Cedar Grill. i think Bandon would do rad with a Face Rock Brewpub & Cheese Factory. Both at the same place. i would definitely go back and visit a lot more. Well, there’s a biz vaccuum/niche to be filled now in Bandon, it’ll be interesting to see if anyone will do it. A lot of coast residents are kind of beaten down by starting up and losing businesses within six months, i think.

  8. I am furious and so disappointed that the bandon cheese factory has been closed…It is more than just a little business…it was a very special place to my family and out of town friends and family that have enjoyed doing business with them for years. I was frustrated with Tillamook took them over and knew this would happen. I sucks major!

  9. In the winter Bandon is a ghost town so it’s hard to have a business unless you also have other income. The golf course is building housing for their help due to hight price of houseing and big turnover of help.

    I worked at the Cheese factory back in 1977-1980 with fond memories. We had a sharp cheddar cheese there that was 8 years old. Stored in the back for 8 years, wow. Tillamook ages their extra sharp for like 6 months. It sucks what Tillamook did to Bandon and it’s name.
    The factory used to hang a green flag
    outside which let the truckers know they had curds that day, red flag, no curds.Nothing like fresh warm curds. What a treat. Squeeky cheese is what we called it.

Comments are closed.