Kefir production begins at former Golden Guernsey plant
Waukesha facility allows Lifeway Foods to increase production

By Katherine Michelets - Freeman Staff

Aug. 22, 2015

The former Golden Guernsey Dairy is now producing kefir under the Lifeway brand.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

WAUKESHA - Lifeway Foods, Inc. announced Friday it began producing kefir at its new Waukesha facility in the former Golden Guernsey dairy plant.

Lifeway bought the facility on Delafield Street in May 2013 and has been processing raw milk and producing its own bottles at the plant for more than a year after conducting major renovations as well as food safety certification of the upgraded facility.

According to the announcement, Lifeway Foods is the nation’s leading supplier of kefir-cultured dairy products. The Waukesha plant employs more than 40 people, of whom more than 25 percent are former Golden Guernsey employees who lost their jobs after a bankruptcy filing closed the 58-year-old business, according to Lifeway, which purchased the facility for $7.4 million.

“We acquired the Golden Guernsey plant because we urgently needed more production capacity,” Julie Smolyanksy, president and CEO of Lifeway Foods, said in a statement. “Renovating the building to meet our specific manufacturing and packaging needs has been a top priority, and the start of kefir production in Waukesha is an important milestone that will help drive the next chapter in the company’s growth.”

Lifeway Foods reports that the global market for probiotics is expected to reach USD 52.34 billion by 2020. In order to tap into the growing market, Lifeway said it plans to capitalize with its 170,000square-foot plant that will more than quintuple the combined manufacturing capacity of Lifeway’s three existing facilities to support ongoing growth in the company’s kefir business. The company plans to produce its top-selling products in Waukesha, taking advantage of both the large space and new high-speed manufacturing equipment to meet the demand.

Lifeway Foods was recently named one of Forbes’ Best Small Companies. In addition to its line of drinkable kefir, the company also produces frozen kefir, specialty cheeses and a ProBugs line for kids. Lifeway’s cultured dairy products are now sold across the United States, Canada, Latin America and the United Kingdom.