Canada-based Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd. announced plans to acquire The Stirling Creamery Ltd., effective Nov. 1. The purchase builds upon Gay Lea Foods' existing butter operation in Guelph, Ontario, and supports the co-operative’s plan to create sustainable long-term solutions for growth within the Canadian dairy industry.

Located in Stirling, Ontario, Stirling Creamery is known for its range of artisanal-crafted natural and flavored butters, including Churn 84 European-style butters, whey butter, Stirling Premium Balls and a variety of flavored medallions and spreads for foodservice applications. The creamery has been owned and operated by Butterball Farms (U.S.), Grand Rapids, Mich., since 2006.

The purchase and integration of Stirling Creamery into Gay Lea Foods will add these premium butter collections to the Gay Lea Foods product mix, further increase its production capacity and support the co-operative's core principle concern for investment in rural communities. The deal will also provide Gay Lea Foods with added flexibility to meet customer needs in the current high-demand market for butter.

Gay Lea Foods intends to maintain full operations at the Stirling plant and preserve all relationships with existing Stirling Creamery customers, suppliers and employees.

"Stirling Creamery, like our co-operative, has a strong and rich history in the province of Ontario. With this acquisition, we continue the tradition of supporting family farms in Ontario while further strengthening Gay Lea Foods' presence in the Canadian dairy industry,” says Steve Dolson, chair, Gay Lea Foods.

"Today's announcement is an exciting next chapter for Stirling Creamery, bringing together two companies with a shared commitment to producing high-quality dairy products while working to enrich the lives of their employees, members, neighbors and communities. We look forward to working with Gay Lea Foods, as Stirling Creamery becomes part of this successful and growing Canadian co-operative," adds Mark Peters, chief executive officer of Stirling Creamery.

"Gay Lea Foods is committed to growing the market for Canadian dairy, and we are pleased to welcome such a well-respected brand into our dairy co-operative. We look forward to new opportunities, as we continue to focus on growing a strong, sustainable dairy industry that delivers innovative, market-driven dairy products," says Michael Barrett, president and CEO, Gay Lea Foods.

This acquisition comes on the heels of Gay Lea Foods forming a joint venture with Vitalus Nutrition Inc., a Canada-based dairy ingredient supplier, to process dairy ingredients and butter in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.