The history of Verkhnedvinsk butter and cheese factory is a long and not simple way from united butter factories to one of the most advanced productions in its industry.
In 1932 in the town of Drissa (as Verkhnedvinsk was called until December 1962), at the confluence of the Drissa river and the river Western Dvina, the Drissa Butter and Cheese Factory was established. It was located in the center of the town on Sovetskaya street and occupied only one building. The main specialization of the plant was cheese production. In addition to the main workshop, there was also a separator department in the village of Bigosovo, a butter department in the village of Borkovichi and a department in the village of Volyntsi, which produced butter and cheese.
All the work in the factory and its village branches was practically done by hand. However, sometimes "small" mechanization was also used. For example, in Volyntsy, butter was made in a churn by a drive that was driven by... a horse.
Unfortunately, the early history of the Verkhnedvinsk butter and cheese factory is limited to these data. Like many other enterprises of the heroic Verhnedvinsk district. The Great Patriotic War is to blame: no documents have survived, no living witnesses - those who worked in those pre-war years at the plant and its branches.
The war left a deep trace in the history of the district. It destroyed the industrial enterprises, in the villages hunger and devastation prevailed. But peaceful life prevailed. Thanks to the selfless work of the residents of Verkhnedvinsk, the district in a relatively short time healed its front wounds.
At that time Peter Andreevich Feoktistov, Iosif Feliksovich Menkovsky, Gennady Grigorievich Shapiro were at the head of the enterprise, replacing each other in responsible positions.
Not even two decades after the war, there came a qualitative change in the material and social appearance of the village. The grain yield at that time exceeded 25 centners per hectare, the milk yield from one cow reached three thousand kilograms and became the statistical average for the district. In order to process all the milk, the old plant clearly lacked the capacity and there was an urgent need to create a new milk processing plant. The local authorities decided to adapt the mothballed construction of a vegetable processing plant in the village of Yanino as a milk processing facility.
On March 28, 1964 a new milestone in the history of the Verkhnedvinsk butter and cheese factory began. The butter and cheese factory started operating in the village of Yanino. Anton Stanislavovich Zalessky was in charge of commissioning and became the first director of the new plant. In the first year of operation there were about fifty people working at the plant. The milk was delivered to the plant in flasks, and the products were produced only by weight. It was not easy for the people who worked at the plant at that time.
Work was organized in one shift, which, at times, lasted from early morning until late at night - until all the raw materials had been processed. There was very little time for rest.
But despite the difficulties, everyone was full of energy and optimism. Already in the first year of work 624 tons of butter, 259 tons of fatty hard cheese and 369 tons of whole-milk products were produced. The production of hard rennet cheeses became the main specialization of the enterprise. At that time only two kinds were produced.
Verkhnedvinsk cheese makers never stood still and were not satisfied with what they had achieved. Not even a year later the first reconstruction was started at the enterprise, and six years later there was another one. In 1965 and 1971 works to increase production capacity were carried out. In 1965, Gennady Isayevich Matveyev (1965-1974) took over the company.
Due to technical re-equipment the processing capacity increased up to one hundred tons of milk per shift. For ten years Alexander Andreevich Lokun was the director of the enterprise (1974-1984).
Under his leadership the plant achieved excellent results in the production of cheese and dairy products. In November 1975, participants of the School of Excellence in Butter Production gathered at the Verkhnedvinsk Butter and Cheese Factory. Products of the small plant from Belarus were famous not only in the vast Soviet Union, but also beyond its borders.
Beginning in the 1970s, for 20 years, until the collapse of the USSR, cheese was exported to the German Democratic Republic and Cuba.
From 1984 to 2005 Verkhnedvinsk Butter and Cheese Factory wrote its history under the leadership of Raisa Leonidovna Yelovskaya. The first woman director passed a working way from shift foreman, quality engineer, chief engineer to the head. Like nobody else she knew all the details of production and all the difficulties the plant's workers had to face, since mostly women worked there. Raisa Leonidovna did a lot to improve production processes and reduce manual labor. In 1987 an overhead conveyor for transportation of cheese to the cheese storage was assembled and put into operation, which greatly simplified the work of the cheese-making section workers. It's hard to imagine, but before that the workers had to transport eight tons of cheese per shift. However, whatever difficulties Verkhnedvinsk cheese makers encountered, the quality of their cheese was always excellent.
In the 1980s, it accounted for more than 60 percent of total production. Another important type of product for the enterprise was oil production. For many years a lot of work was carried out to improve technology and quality. And as a result - all butter of Verkhnedvinsk butter and cheese plant is produced in the highest grade. Thanks to its excellent quality and taste qualities, it was in high demand among buyers not only in Belarus but also beyond its borders. Till 1997 the oil was produced only in monoliths of 20 kg. And since 1997 the production of packaged oil was mastered. In 1999 Verkhnedvinsk people mastered the production of chocolate butter which is loved by many people.
Along with butter and cheese, the factory produced whole-milk and dairy products. In the 90's of the last century, their production volume increased significantly, and the assortment expanded. This was possible due to the renewal of equipment, installation of new packaging lines. Until 2001 sales of whole-milk products were mainly within the Verkhnedvinsk district. Since 2001 the markets of this type of production have expanded. Shipment began to be made to trade enterprises of Polotsk, Novopolotsk, Vitebsk, where it was highly appreciated by buyers. For many years, the plant produced milk sugar from whey, a valuable and strategically important product of dairy processing. There was a huge state order for it, as milk sugar was used in the pharmaceutical industry. The main consumer of milk sugar at that time was the Krasnoyarsk Medical Preparations Plant. Milk sugar production was a labor- and energy-intensive process, and the work in the shop was carried out in three shifts. However, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the production ties were severed, and the output of these products ceased.
Since 1995 Verkhnedvinsky butter and cheese factory began to form branded trade. The plant opened two stores. The first store was located in a microdistrict in Verkhnedvinsk and started its work in November 1995. The second one was opened at the end of 1996 not far from the plant in the village of Yanino. Branded stores of butter and cheese factory quickly gained popularity among customers. From 31 December 1998 state-owned enterprise "Verkhnedvinsky butter and cheese plant" decision of the Vitebsk Regional Executive Committee was transformed into a public company "Verkhnedvinsky Creamery", the production activities of which focused on the procurement and processing of milk with the mass production of dairy products.
OJSC "Verkhnedvinsky Creamery" repeatedly became a prize-winner among processing and service enterprises, was awarded Certificates of Honor of the Vitebsk Regional Executive Committee and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the Republic of Belarus, became the winner of the contest "Best Products of the Republic of Belarus" and a diploma winner of the national contest "Best Product of 2005" in the categories of "Butter" and "Cream cheese and cheese melting".
In 2005 JSC "Verkhnedvinsky butter and cheese factory" was headed by Andrei Adamovich Bezzubov. An enterprising manager with progressive market views understood that the increasing competition in the market of dairy producers requires new approaches to the promotion of their own products and constant work on quality. In January 2005 the trademarks "Yan-cheese" and "Ulyanka" were registered. The capacity utilization for cheese production exceeded 100 percent and during the period of mass consumption of raw milk processing there was no longer enough for cheeses. Increasing cheese production capacity became not only a production necessity, but also a question of the enterprise's survival. Existing production space does not allow to introduce a new progressive technology of cheese production. In 2006 the construction of a workshop building and later installation of automated cheese production line with a processing capacity of 180 tons of milk a day began. The equipment was supplied by the Austrian company Berch-Laska Productionsund Handels GMBH. The uniqueness of technological innovation was the fact that the whole process of cheese production is closed and automated. The high quality of cheese is achieved due to strict control of the entire technological chain of production, starting with milk reception and ending with ripening of cheese. The line is equipped with additional equipment for more thorough cleaning and processing of milk - CIP-washing system, which complies with European standards. The commissioned shop can be safely called a new plant. Production capacity has tripled, and the range of products has doubled. Verkhnedvinsky butter and cheese factory got an opportunity to produce cheeses of the Russian group, while previously it only produced a group of Dutch cheeses. The company started to process 180 tons of milk per shift and make up to 18 tons of cheese per day. Since December 2007 the plant is part of the Vitebsk Concern "Meat and Dairy Products". State association "Vitebsk concern "Myaso-milk products" - one of the largest associations of meat and dairy industry in Belarus, which includes 8 dairy companies and 4 meat enterprises in Vitebsk region, which produces dairy and meat products, as well as wholesale and purchasing organization.
In 2009 the packaged cheeses "Dutch", "Bukovinsky" and "Monastyrsky" at the exhibition "Prodexpo 2009" in Moscow won the gold medal at the international competition "Best Product 2009". More than once Verkhnedvinsk cheese makers won the contest "Best Goods of the Republic of Belarus on the Market of the Russian Federation". The products of Verkhnedvinsk cheese makers were also successfully presented at the fair "Kuplyaytse belaruskaye" in Minsk in May 2010. The residents and guests of the capital were able to appreciate the quality and taste of the ripe cheeses from Yan's Cheese Maker. At the international exhibition Prodexpo 2011 in Moscow the Verkhnedvinsky butter and cheese factory was awarded a Diploma of Participant of the 18th international exhibition of food products and raw materials for their production. Participating in the contest "The best product-2011" which was held within the frames of the 18th international exhibition the enterprise was awarded a gold medal for the cheese "Parmesan Classic". In October of 2011 at the Republican cheese contest in Slutsk the JSC "Verkhnedvinsky butter and cheese factory" was awarded a diploma for the high quality cheese "Verkhnedvinsky light" of 25% fat content. At the 17th International Specialized Wholesale Exhibition-Fair "Prodexpo-2011", which was held in November 2011 in the National Exhibition Center "Belexpo" in Minsk, OJSC "Verhnedvinsky Creamery" distinguished with an original exhibition booth. A wide range of products presented, tastings, new ideas, communication with the specialists of the plant - this is just a small part of what was presented to visitors. They were able to appreciate the amazing novelty from "Yana-cheese-maker" - cheese "Verhnedvinsky spicy" with walnuts. The enterprise was awarded the diploma "For renewal and improvement of the assortment of its products" and received a memorable symbol - "Apple". Exhibition "Prodexpo-2011" helped the company to establish a lot of business contacts for 2012. From 13.02.12 to 17.02.12 at the 18 International specialized wholesale exhibition-fair "Prodexpo-2012", which was held in the central exhibition center "Expocentre" Moscow, Russia, the company won the highest award of the contest "The best innovative product-2012" for whey cheese demineralized in the assortment at the contest. And also a bronze medal in the contest "The best product-2012" for the cheese "Army".
2011 Following the line of production of cheeses without human involvement, which later allowed to obtain a quality certificate of the European Union, another important investment project was realized - the production of dry demineralized whey. The next stage of innovative development of Verkhnedvinsky butter and cheese factory was the commissioning of a workshop for the production of dry whey and casein whey with different degrees of demineralization. Despite the fact that the range of its application in the food industry is quite wide, Belarus has not yet had such production. The volume of investments in fixed capital amounted to about 35 billion rubles. The project is expected to pay for itself within six years. The commissioning of the new facilities gave the enterprise an additional item of income. If previously whey was only used to feed livestock in small quantities, and more often it was simply poured out, now it has become a highly profitable, export-oriented product, which brings high profitability and "live" currency. The degree of demineralization managed to get up to 90%, thereby significantly expanding the range of applications of the product in pharmacy, cooking, agriculture, and increasing the value of whey. Since it is mostly sold abroad, about 70%, the foreign exchange earnings have also increased. Per month here produces 280-290 tons of dry whey. At the electrodialysis and drying section the entire process can be seen on monitors. Everything else is hidden from sight and, most importantly, hands. The only things you can see are the milk truck arriving and the finished product being packed. A test batch of dry whey was produced when President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko visited Verkhnedvinsk District and the Verkhnedvinsk butter and cheese factory on a working trip. To commemorate that momentous event, the workers of the plant asked the head of state to sign a 25-kilogram sack with the new products, which has now become a museum exhibit. It was not the first time Alexander Grigorievich was in the district and he pointed out that Verkhnedvinsk is one of the most beautiful towns of the country situated in an ecologically clean region. We have to preserve that wealth and do our best to ensure that the land brings tangible returns and the raw material base is used to its maximum capacity, he stressed. OJSC Verkhnedvinsk Butter and Cheese Plant is an example of such fruitful activity. The President familiarized himself with modern technological processes and equipment for milk processing and cheese making, production and economic conditions and prospects of the enterprise. The Head of State toured the workshop where the famous Verkhnedvinsk cheese is made and appreciated its work. The Verkhnedvinsk factory is unique because it was the first in the country to receive European certificates of quality and safety, which makes it possible to expand the export market. The President paid special attention to the efficiency of the use of raw materials and the depth of processing of animal products. The Verkhnedvinsk butter and cheese factory has set up a whey processing shop. The President visited the exhibition of products manufactured by Verkhnedvinsk butter and cheese factory and other enterprises of the Vitebsk Concern "Myaso-milk products. After tasting the offered products he confessed that he gives preference to cheese, which is very tasty in Verkhnedvinsk. Summing up the results of the visit, the President said that development of the meat and dairy industry is a promising direction, especially on the Vitebsk soil suitable for it. Waste-free production, quality and clear specialization are the main requirements on the way. The country's leader also noted the importance of the human factor: we need good young professionals - they should know what the village is all about, not just look at it as an agricultural sector, but, above all, as a place to live. Today the product is successfully marketed in Russia and China. And in October 2013 another investment project was implemented - "Reconstruction of the butter production shop". A new one grew up on the place of the old butter shop, where equipment of Ukrainian, Russian and Lithuanian producers was placed, excellent conditions for personnel work, storage and shipment of the finished product were created. The general contractor was the local Volynetsk PMS. About 10 billion credit resources were spent on everything. Production of butter is necessary first of all for the domestic market, because in Verkhnedvinsk it has always been produced, they are used to their product here. - Moreover, in any case, the cream remains after the separation of milk required fat content for cooking cheeses, and the company uses them in the production of butter and chocolate. In other words, we see a closed cycle of milk processing at the enterprise: from cream - butter, from milk - cheese, from whey left after cheese cooking - dry demineralized whey. The issue of waste disposal has been solved: previously the whey had to be disposed of, today it is used to make money. The plant can process 180 tons of milk a day. Though it is 100% loaded in summer, it is not easy to get the raw materials. To make things easier, the butter and cheese factory took under its wing one