Pat Ford and Tim Welsh did not follow a traditional route into cheesemaking. They both owned their own companies in the white-collar world and were working at them when Tim Welsh shared his dream with his brother-in-law, Pat: he wanted to make cheese.
And with that, Beehive Cheese Company was born. Founded in 2004, the company got its name because Utah is the Beehive state, and Pat and Tim wanted to bring back the local creameries that were in every community during the 1950s.
With all the cheese that is made in Utah, the two faced a long haul, except their concept was different. They wanted to make unique artisan cheese.
So, they headed up to Utah State University, which has a strong agriculture program, and went through a five-day cheesemaking course.
From White-Collar Workers to Artisan Cheesemakers
The connection they have with USU is a good one, as the university has their own dairy farm, and they gave Beehive a recipe of a cheese that they had been working on for decades. They asked Tim and Pat to commercialize that recipe, and that became Promontory, their very first cheese, which has won many awards and is cheddar-style cheese known for its creaminess.
From Promontory, they took a unique turn to something completely different—their Barely Buzzed. Tim decided to rub coffee on cheese, something that no one thought would work. He didn’t agree, because you put cream in coffee, so why not combine cheese and espresso? He also added lavender, and another award-winning cheese was born.
Always unique with their flavors, they also have their honey and salt cheese, SeaHive, along with their Red Butte Hatch Chile, which was originally developed exclusively with Harmons. Both have a partnership with Red Butte Gardens and six percent of their Red Butte Hatch Chile cheese goes to the gardens.
They also decided since coffee worked, why not tea? Their TeaHive cheese is rubbed with Earl Gray tea. The Apple Walnut Smoked is fairly self-explanatory, and their newest concoction, Pour Me a Slice, is looking to outsell Barely Buzzed this year. Pour Me a Slice is washed with Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and is sweet and creamy with a hint of bourbon spice.
Big John’s Cajun is the result of a collaboration with a Park City chef and features a Creole rub. And TruffleHive features a creamy earthy taste, and is rubbed with Regalis Black Truffle Carpaccio, honey, and truffle salt.
Oprah Winfrey, a Grilled Cheese Food Truck, and Project Promontory
Pat shares a lot more in the podcast, and you’ll want to tune in to find out their Oprah Winfrey connection, their collaboration with a grilled cheese food truck in Washington, D.C., and more.
Community is a big part of their ethos, and as COVID-19 hit, they found a special way to keep their people working as well as giving back to the community. When you listen to the podcast you’ll learn about Project Promontory and Pat also shares the story of their partnership with Harmons.
If you enjoyed this podcast, you’ll want to listen to our other episodes. You can find them here.
And for some great recipes using Beehive Cheese, click below.
Pat Ford, Beehive Cheese
Pat Ford has grown Beehive Cheese into an industry-leading maker through his relentless positivity and enthusiasm for customer service. His career in sales has spanned over several decades to include real estate development, business-to-business software sales, and a brief stint in fire truck sales.
He founded Beehive Cheese with his brother- in-law, Tim Welsh. When the two opened the creamery doors in 2005, they had approximately eight days of cheesemaking under their belt. Never one to shy away from learning, Pat poured every ounce of passion into making exceptional cheese and learning the ins-and-outs of selling a specialty product nationwide.
Service is very important to Pat. He’s been an active member of the American Cheese Society (ACS) for the last 15 years and served on the board of directors for six years. During his tenure on the ACS board, he played an important role in the creation of the Certified Cheese Professional (CCP) program.
When he isn’t busy traveling the world with his wife, Jeanette, you can usually find him driving a tractor (or mule) on his ranch. He’s a proud father of five and a grandpa to nine spunky, cheese-loving grandkids.
At Harmons, we are lucky to have incredibly talented artists at each store, and we’re sure you’ve seen their amazing chalk art as you wander throughout every location. We’re excited to be able to feature some of their work as the featured art on our podcast blog. This week’s art is by Suzanne Morris from our District location.