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Bruny Island calling. Why Nick Haddow wouldn't make cheese anywhere in the world but here

Michelle Legge
Business Journalist

Michelle Legge is the Smarter Business™ Digital Editor. She's the former editor of Hooroo.com by Qantas and contributes regularly to small business, social media and lifestyle publications

Michelle Legge
Business Journalist

Michelle Legge is the Smarter Business™ Digital Editor. She's the former editor of Hooroo.com by Qantas and contributes regularly to small business, social media and lifestyle publications

Inspired by Europe’s artisanal cheese making tradition, Nick Haddow found business success in Tasmania’s Bruny Island.

For one delicious decade, Nick Haddow’s footsteps dotted the globe in pursuit of all things cheese. From France, to Spain, Italy and the UK, Nick rolled up his sleeves to make cheese with the masters of Europe’s greatest cheese producing regions.

Before long, the call to return to Southern Oceans could not be ignored. With his heart, and business ambition set on starting a small-scale artisan cheese making facility, Nick found himself aboard a ferry to Bruny Island, just off the coast of Hobart. The journey had begun for Bruny Island Cheese Co.

The Inspiration Journey - Bruny Island Cheese Co

man smelling cheese in cheese storage room

New world, old ways

As a traditionalist, Haddows’s artisanal approach to cheese making found a welcome embrace in the natural purity and relaxed pace of Bruny Island. “One of the biggest challenges we face is being an artisan in a new world context," says Haddow. 

“It’s a pretty highly regulated industry, the cheese manufacturing industry, so staying true to techniques that are often hundreds of years old is our biggest challenge, but ultimately it’s our biggest success as well,” he adds. 

Real rewards

For Haddow, not only would Tasmania offer a chance to tap into one of Australia’s most celebrated food producing hubs, but it would also offer a connection to community.

“Being on Bruny is actually bigger than Bruny, it’s Tasmania - an amazing place not just to live - but to be a producer, and have the support of the local community in propping you up and supporting what you do”, he explains.

Led by inspiration

Big decisions come from the heart, and for Haddow, investing in Bruny Island Cheese Co. was no exception.

“Be true to your dream; don’t let your dream become corrupted. Set out to do something you set out to do, make the product you wanted to make or do the thing you wanted to do. That’s what’s going to make you successful ultimately rather than trying to mould yourself into something that other people think you should be,” he says.

Lesson learnt: Dreaming big delivers results

Nick Haddow’s business strategy of following his passion, has put his company on the road to success. In 2013 Bruny Island Cheese Co. won the Telstra Australian Business of the Year Award, becoming the first Tasmanian business to take out the top award in the 21-year history of the Awards.

Bruny Island Cheese Co. received the top gong not only for the quality of its produce but also for the role it plays in sustaining local agri-tourism and supporting dairy farmers in the island. Tracing the path of his European mentors, Haddow’s success is tied to that of his community’s.

"Owning Bruny Island Cheese Co. means a lot of pride in being able to produce a product that hopefully makes a lot of people happy. This business involves everyone in its community and it's a humbling experience," says Haddow.

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