Two Tyroleans conquer the Milky Way

Thomas and Markus Ehammer are authentic dairy boys (Milchbuben) and produce exceptional specialities in their Tyrolean master cheese dairy.

In the beginning there was milk. At least for Markus Ehammer. As the youngest of four children, he was destined to take over his parents' farm in Penningberg (municipality of Hopfgarten im Brixental) with a focus on cattle breeding. Markus therefore decided to attend agricultural college and subsequently qualified as a master dairy technician in the Tirol Milch company. When the question arose about the future of the "Rehaberhof", Markus said to his brother Thomas one day: "What do you think about building a cheese dairy?" Thomas - a trained carpenter - was immediately enthusiastic and on board. What started with a simple question has been growing into a successful business concept since 2016. The concept of the "Milchbuben" was born.

Milchbuben-Penningberg-Hopfgarten-4© Ehammer Christina

Regional. Sustainable. Fresh.

Looking back, the brothers know what it takes in terms of time, nerves and money to establish such an undertaking on a realistic, economically successful footing. "We started our entrepreneurship happily and probably a little naively. A seven-day week with busy nights was the norm, and our partners supported the idea from the very first minute; without their support it would never have worked," they both say, grateful for the strong support within the family. "The focus of Milchbuben is on soft cheese," Markus explains. With his knowledge, he could now shine and work on delicate recipes. The product range is more than impressive: organic Camembert, either natural or refined with walnut, pistachio, chilli or herbs, organic mountain cheese, organic hayflower cheese, beer cheese, pepper cheese, Alpine chive cheese...the list of delicacies is long. A look at the online shop leaves nothing to be desired for cheese gourmets. In addition, there are other selected specialities made of butter, sausage, dairy products and dry products, all of which come from the region and are lovingly handmade.

© Daniel Gollner Fotografie

Where reliability and trustworthiness count

The Milchbuben want to convey an honest and transparent image, and they do. Anyone who lives in Hopfgarten or is visiting is most warmly welcomed by the two passionate food craftsmen and allowed to taste and gain an insight into production. "In the meantime, business is going really well, we have already been able to take on an employee, for which our wives are very grateful, and we are well positioned in the trade sector as well as in smaller niche businesses with our cheese, so that we even have waiting lists." They are proud of what they have achieved, because the first steps were not easy: "In the beginning, we went from shop to shop, presented our products and received one rejection after the next because of our prices. With the constant thought in the background that the bank would soon want to have the first instalment in the account, it was not an easy undertaking." But they were not deterred, they insisted on their quality, which costs what it costs: "We also want to pay our employees and our suppliers a fair price, that has nothing to do with profiling, but with creating added value for everyone who is part of our concept.

© Daniel Gollner Fotografie
© Daniel Gollner Fotografie
© Daniel Gollner Fotografie
© Daniel Gollner Fotografie
© Daniel Gollner Fotografie

More of home on the shelves

In the meantime, the two founders have outsourced milk production on the farm in order to be able to invest more time in production. "We have sold our cows and now purchase milk from two regional farmers in the area. A valuable cooperation for us and a concept that works in terms of economic sustainability. The Milchbuben are convinced of this: "The demand for sustainable, organic, regional products is growing. Initiatives like this will have much more space on the shelves in the future." For more of home on the shelves.

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Sabine Ertl

Sabine Ertl

...nurture body and soul. Born 1986 in Carinthia, studied media and communication sciences in Klagenfurt. As a freelance journalist, copywriter and blogger she likes to travel a lot. Mountain freak, horse freak, neo-cellist and gourmet. More details: more details

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