cheese factory

Tánaiste turns sod on Kilkenny Cheese Ltd facility

Representatives from Glanbia Co-op, international dairy producer Royal A-ware and the Irish Government today took part in the turning of the sod at the site of a new continental cheese facility being built at Belview in Co Kilkenny.

The new facility will be one of the most efficient and sustainable continental cheese production facilities in Europe. It is planned that the first continental cheese will be produced for global markets at the facility in 2024. 

The facility, which is being built by Kilkenny Cheese Ltd, a joint venture between family-owned Dutch dairy producer Royal A-Ware and Glanbia Co-op, will have a footprint of 18,000 square metres. It will produce over 50,000 tonnes of continental cheese per year, including Edam, Gouda and Emmental cheese varieties which will be brought to market by Royal A-ware through their established channels.

The production facility will utilise approximately 450 million litres of milk from Glanbia milk suppliers each year.

The sod-turning was performed by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue.

Welcoming the facility, Minister McConalogue said;

“It is a real honour to be in Belview to turn the sod on this really exciting project. It is great to see this really important project finally come to fruition. This is a great day for the 4,500 Glanbia farm family suppliers as well as for the wider Irish agriculture sector and Irish farmers as a whole. Both I and the Government have been supportive of the project throughout, because of its profound importance to farming in the south-east. It is heartening to know too that Glanbia Co-op is fully committed to a sustainable future for the dairy sector in partnership with Government, through the Food Vision 2030 Strategy. I look forward to continued engagement through these initiatives into the future.”

Also speaking at the event, Glanbia Co-op CEO Jim Bergin, said:

“We are delighted to partner with Royal A-ware, a leading global producer of continental cheese, to build this world-class facility in the south-east of Ireland. The joint venture approach brings expertise in continental cheese production and a new route to market for our farmers. Today marks a significant step on the road to diversifying our product offering post-Brexit. Our Co-op will also benefit from the additional whey and cream streams produced by this new cheese facility. This facility is essential in the context of a sustainable future for our Co-op and our sector as set out in our Living Proof sustainability strategy.”

Royal A-ware CEO Jan Anker said:

“When we first announced our partnership with Glanbia Co-op in 2019, we said we were taking another step towards achieving our goals of working with strategic partners to build innovative and sustainable agri-food chains and offering our customers an enhanced product portfolio. Today’s milestone will see our company bring high-quality continental cheese produced through a local supply chain into the marketplace. We look forward to this great new facility opening in 2024.”

Kilkenny Cheese factory

The above image is a visualisation of new continental cheese facility.

Kilkenny Cheese Ltd will invest in highly advanced carbon-efficient processing technology and its enhanced sustainability design ensures it will be a best-in-class facility.

The new facility delivers new continental cheese products for new markets, providing diversification opportunities from the UK cheddar market and supporting the incomes of over 4,500 family farms.

The Kilkenny Cheese joint venture was announced in January 2019 and was scheduled for commissioning in 2022. It is now on track to commence cheese production early in 2024.

Fact Sheet


Belview Port, South Kilkenny

Building footprint

18,000 sq m

Milk consumption

450 million litres of milk p.a.


Over 50,000 tonnes of continental cheese p.a.



Capital investment

€200+ million

On track for delivery


Facility jobs  


Construction jobs


Kilkenny Cheese Ltd

  • Kilkenny Cheese Ltd is a joint venture between Glanbia Co-op and family-owned international dairy business, Royal A-ware.
  • Located in the heart of rural Ireland, our €200 million new continental cheese facility is an essential production facility that will play a key role in sustaining our local rural economy and supporting the incomes of 4,500 farm families when operational.
  • Consistent with the Government post-Brexit market diversification strategy, and its sustainability policy, the new Enterprise Ireland-supported facility is also expected to create 80 jobs and support 400 construction jobs in the south-east. It will support product mix diversification strategies and create a new route to market for continental cheese produced from milk from Irish family farms.
  • The facility will manufacture varieties of continental cheese including Gouda, Edam and Emmental for food service, retail and B2B customers.
  • There are strong advantages to the joint venture facility, as it utilises expertise from both organisations and will bring continental cheese to the marketplace alongside Royal A-ware’s established routes to market.
  • Other products produced during the process, including whey and butterfat for cream production, will be brought to market through Glanbia Co-op.
  • The new facility will be one of the most efficient and sustainable continental cheese production facilities in Europe.
  • As part of a strong focus on sustainable design, a highly efficient process will see water recirculated through the facility. During production, the blocks of cheese will be floated into a brine bath along water channels. Some 60% of the water required to manufacture the cheese will be recovered from the incoming milk.
  • The process heating will use low pressure hot water boilers in place of the traditional steam boilers giving a 20% improvement in energy efficiency.
  • A heat recovery system is designed to recycle heat during the production process.
  • In line with seasonal milk production, the facility will be operational for 42 weeks of the year.
  • It is scheduled for commissioning in early 2024.