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Cheese company looks to expand into New London

New London — In a small portion of an expansive industrial warehouse at 75 Crystal Ave., Brian Civitello envisions what he is now calling the Whaling City Cheese Cave.

The founder of The Mystic Cheese Company has applied for a special use permit from the Planning and Zoning Commission to relocate a portion of his cheese-making operation into New London.

Part of his plan is to offer the public a tasting room where he could offer samples of cheese paired with local beers and wines.

It would be a chance, Civitello said, to not only expose the public to unique handmade cheeses but also offer special educational cheese-making events.

The Planning and Zoning Commission is expected to take up the application with a public hearing at its meeting on Thursday.

The Mystic Cheese Company opened two years ago to critical acclaim and operates out of two proprietary cheese pods — recycled shipping containers transformed into cheese-making operations.

The company is based at Graywall Farm in Lebanon, one of the founding members of the Farmer’s Cow. The proximity to fresh cow’s milk was a driving force behind its location.

Civitello, who grew up in Salem and has been making cheese for 14 years, said with a drop in the popularity of farmers markets, the company last year switched to a wholesale operation.

The company quickly was overwhelmed by the number of orders for its soft cheeses. He said they are now constantly sold out.

While he initially targeted Mystic for a move to expand operations, Civitello sees a better opportunity in New London.

“It will allow us to both expand our operation and offer new cheeses,” he said.

He said the advantages of the location in New London include the infrastructure already in place and the proximity to the highway, which will cut distribution costs.

With a proposal to use 3,200-square feet of a 35,000-square-foot facility, there is also ample room for expansion.

City records show the building is owned by Thames River Properties LLC.

Thursday’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

For more information visit mysticcheese.co.

g.smith@theday.com

Twitter: @SmittyDay

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