Closely Associated

David | Blog | April, 23 2010 | 3 Comments

Nora Weiser is the new executive director of the American Cheese Society, and she has some beer-related ideas to go along with that name that’s somewhat suggestive of a fine beer style from Bavaria. 

ACS is a 27-year-old membership organization for those who make, sell, and rave about North American artisan and farmstead cheese. Weiser joined the organization in February as part of its transition to self management, and her proposal as a finalist included the suggestion that Denver, her home for more than a decade, would also be the new home of the association.  So the office was set up earlier this month on the southeast side of the city. Working with a board of directors including  Pres. David Gremmels of Rogue Creamery, Central Point, Ore., Weiser has established a few goals for the growing organization.

“Internally, we want to everything we can to continue to improve services to members,” she says. “I’m also hoping to have ACS take a major role in getting more people interested in artisan and farmstead cheese, and there is a lot of opportunity for that right now. And we want to establish the organization as a resource for anyone who wants to know more about artisanal and farmstead cheese in North America.”

Weiser’s background is in association management. Having previously headed an organization of museum stores, she had never been involved in artisan foods professionally. She has a Masters degree in art history, speaks French and Dutch and has lived, worked and studied in France, London and Chicago.  While she is a foodie, Weiser admits that until coming to ACS she was more familiar with French cheese than with American. She’s tasted a lot recently, and she says she is thrilled with what American cheesemakers are doing, “putting a new spin on the European traditions.” No surprise she says, that the cheese here is now equaling or surpassing what is made in the old world. She sees a parallel to the Judgement in Paris story of the 1970s when American wine makers shocked the French with their new-found prowess.

Living in Denver, she is familiar with American Craft Beer.

“One of the first things I did after joining the Cheese Society was to visit our neighbors in Boulder at the Brewer’s Association,” she says. “They put on the Great American Beer Festival in Denver each year, and our entire staff will go to that. They also put together a great event in June in Washington DC called Savor, and we will do something there too.” The new relationship with the Brewers Association will offer some great learning opportunities, Weiser says.

Savor, scheduled for June 5 this year, is the Brewers Association’s new event focused on the marriage of craft beer and fine food. Meanwhile Weiser and her staff of three have hit the ground running in preparing for the Cheese Society’s own annual conference. This year it visits Seattle, Aug. 25-28.

One more cheese note: Read a review this morning of “The Backup Plan” a new rom-com starring Jennifer Lopez. Her character’s love interest is a hunky cheese farmer* who sells his goods at a farmers market. It will be interesting for us cheese geeks to see how cheesemakers get treated by Hollywood script writers. But wait for the DVD. The review says the script is overly sweet and lacking complexity.

* The term “cheese farmer” may or may not be trademarked by Max McCalman.

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  1. great post as usual!

  2. [...] of the top US cheesemakers.  I interviewed both the new director of the American Cheese Society (Nora Weiser) and one of the pioneers of American craft brewing (John Isenhour) within a couple days of one [...]

  3. Great…

    love your blog, ,Thanks again….

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