top of page

Sartori Cheese relies on trademark protection and innovation to grow its business around the globe

Based in Plymouth, Wisconsin, locally known as “The Cheese Capital of the World”, Sartori Cheese relies on trademarks to protect its brand and intellectual property rights around the globe.

Sam Allison

When asked how effective trademarks are in enforcing their names, Sam Allison, Director of Global Sales at Sartori, suggests, “It varies market to market. The one constant is how costly it is to engage in enforcement efforts.”


Similar to IP protection for many SMEs, enforcement of global patents and trademarks is time consuming and expensive to pursue country to country.


Sartori, like many food and beverage producers, has battled the European consortiums’ Geographical Indications (GIs) restrictions for years. (see accompanying article on GIs.) Mr. Allison says, “The Europeans continually do a great job of building these GI restrictions into their free trade agreements. They recognize that a cheese like parmesan is one of the most commonly recognized cheeses by consumers around the world. Here in the US, parmesan is the second largest cheese type in the category. This is the diamond they are after. Restricting access for the competition is a great way to corner the market.”


“Without question,” continued Mr. Allison, “we’ve lost sales and market share because of the aggressive behavior of the European consortiums that have led to de-listings, expensive packaging changes and legal costs.”


He went on to describe what it takes to succeed in selling to global markets with these GI obstacles to growth, “In the meantime, we have to rely upon innovating with new cheese types like our Sartori original BellaVitano cheese to enter and compete in global markets.”

While Sartori is fortunate to have a unique offering in its BellaVitano cheese to support global growth, it is expensive to educate global distributors and consumers on what this new-to-the world cheese is.


“Moreover, where it comes from is often a surprise.” said Mr. Allison. “High quality, flavorful product does not fit pre-existing stereotypes about cheese from the US in the international marketplace. Wisconsin remains relatively unknown outside of our borders as a source of some of the finest cheese in the world.”


Sampling and direct customer engagement is the preferred means of changing people’s minds.

“To develop a market for a defensible, though relatively unknown product like Sartori’s BellaVitano cheese, consistent consumer engagement is required,” he continued. “To change people’s minds, you have to get the cheese in their mouths.”


Sartori cheese is exported to approximately 50 countries through various distribution networks across all channels of its business. Mr. Allison concludes, “The US is producing some of the best cheese in the world. We want a level playing field to allow consumers to make the choice.” 


“Sartori BellaVitano cheese is an internationally award-winning, true Sartori original. Proudly made with world class milk from Sartori’s local, family-owned farm partners,” he concluded. “It is an aged cheese, hand-finished with a variety of flavors including Espresso coffee, Merlot wine, and a Tomato Basil blend, among many others.”

Sartori was founded in the historical East Main Caves, a family landmark, and continues to hand-finish its BellaVitano there every day. 

For more information about the company and its cheeses, visit


bottom of page