A West Des Moines private-equity fund has purchased Maytag Dairy Farms, the nationally recognized maker of Maytag blue cheese.
Midwest Growth Partners didn’t disclose details about the purchase, but said it was a “major investment” in the 78-year-old Newton-based dairy.
All employees of Maytag Dairy have been retained through the sale, the company said. Maytag employs 40 full-time employees and 40 part-time and seasonal workers.
The dairy will use Midwest Growth’s investment to pursue several initiatives, including expanding its production facilities, exploring new products and boosting sales, the company said.
Maytag Dairy was started by the son of the Maytag Corp. founder, Frederick Louis Maytag. The Newton-based washer and dryer manufacturer was sold to Whirlpool and the factory subsequently closed in 2006.
“It was extremely important that we find stewards who are fellow Iowans, whose values align with our own, and who will continue to carry on our passion for our customers, our products and the people who create them,” said Fritz Maytag, former board chairman at Maytag Dairy Farms, in a statement.
Since that time, American blue cheese has competed with classic European cheeses like Roquefort, typically made from sheep’s milk.
The company has been under the leadership of Fritz Maytag and other family members for the past 50 years.
“We’re thrilled to have the honor of leading a company that has such a rich history and strong tradition in the artisan cheese industry,” said John Mickelson, who founded Midwest Growth Partners with Mike Taylor.
Fritz Maytag, along with his nephew John Dannerbeck, will continue to be involved with the company and will retain two seats on the Maytag Dairy Farms board.
The company struggled with a recall of its artisan cheese in 2016, shuttering production for more than 10 months following a listeria contamination.
Midwest Growth says it invests in growth-oriented companies located in upper the Midwest and manages $154 million across two funds.