BelGioioso to acquire Polly-O; no indication whether Glenville plant will expand

PHOTO PROVIDEDThe BelGioioso cheese factory in Glenville is shown in this undated aerial image.

The BelGioioso cheese factory in Glenville is shown in this undated aerial image.

GLENVILLE — A Wisconsin manufacturer of Italian cheeses with a large factory in Glenville announced it will be acquiring a New York manufacturer of Italian cheeses.

BelGioioso Cheese, Inc., said its acquisition of Polly-O would expand its footprint in the market. BelGioioso didn’t indicate whether the deal would result in an expansion of its Glenville operations.

The plant in the Glenville Business and Technology Park cost $30 million to build and totals 100,000 square feet. There is room to expand on the 40-acre site. It went into operation in May 2020 and was the newest BelGioioso production facility until this summer, when its 11th factory began operation.

Polly-O dates to 1899, when Italian immigrant Giuseppe Pollio opened a cheese shop in Brooklyn. In 1938, the company moved production to upstate New York and changed the name to Polly-O to differentiate it from the crippling disease polio.

The 1938 factory remains in operation in Campbell, near Corning. It narrowly escaped a shutdown several years ago in a deal that U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.,  helped broker.

Polly-O had net sales of about $177 million in 2020.

Privately owned BelGioioso does not disclose its financials and did not disclose terms of the Polly-O acquisition.

Kraft Heinz in autumn 2020 agreed to sell Polly-O to the Lactalis Group as part of a previously announced transaction. After an antitrust review by the U.S. Department of Justice, Lactalis agreed to shed Polly-O. BelGioioso’s acquisition of Polly-O is now subject to federal regulatory review, as well.

BelGioioso also has a long history in the business, the official company history states. The great-grandfather of the company’s president, Errico Auricchio, founded a cheese company more than a century ago. Aurrichio moved himself, his family and two master cheesemakers from Italy to America in 1979 and settled in the nation’s dairy capital, Wisconsin.

The company arrived in Schenectady County in 2011, when it bought yet another long-running family cheese-making operation: The Cappiello factory in Schenectady.

Today BelGioioso manufactures more than 25 specialty cheeses.

Reach John Cropley at [email protected], 518-395-3104 or @cropjohn on Twitter.

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