ACM Passport Program
This October marks the 3rd Annual American Cheese Month, and cheese shops around the country are celebrating by participating in the American Cheese Month Passport Program.
Designed to generate enthusiasm for American artisan, farmstead, and specialty cheeses, the passport program invites customers to purchase an American Cheese Month Passport at their local retailer for $10. 100% of revenue from passport sales is donated to the nonprofit American Cheese Education Foundation. The passport provides customers with a special discount (ranging from 20-40% off) on a different American artisan or specialty cheese each day, from October 1-31. An interactive map of participating retailers will be available at www.americancheesemonth.org by mid September.
If you are a retailer interested in participating in the American Cheese Month Passport Program in 2013, please check out our FAQs and sign up below!
Frequently Asked Questions for Participating Retailers
Q: What is the American Cheese Society?
A: The American Cheese Society (ACS) is the leading organization supporting the understanding, appreciation, and promotion of farmstead, artisan, and specialty cheeses produced in North America. Over 1,500 members strong, ACS provides advocacy, education, business development, and networking opportunities for cheesemakers, retailers, enthusiasts, and extended industry. ACS strives to continually raise the quality and availability of cheese in North America. To learn more, visit www.cheesesociety.org.
Q: What is American Cheese Month?
A: Founded in 2011 by the American Cheese Society, American Cheese Month is an annual celebration of America’s artisan, farmstead, and specialty cheeses, and the farmers, cheesemakers, distributors, retailers, chefs, and educators who bring them to the table. The goal of the month-long October celebration is to raise awareness of the quality and diversity of American cheeses, as well as to increase support for family farms and traditional cheese production methods. Revenue from select events and programs, including the American Cheese Month Passport Program, supports the American Cheese Education Foundation.
Q: What is the American Cheese Education Foundation?
A: The American Cheese Education Foundation, the American Cheese Society’s sister organization, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created to educate people about the art and science of artisanal and specialty cheese. The foundation funds cheesemaker scholarships to the American Cheese Society’s Annual Conference and supports other educational activities that are designed for members of the cheese community.
Q: Is there a cost for retailers to participate in the American Cheese Month Passport Program?
A: There is no cost to participate, with the exception of the cost to print passports and promotional signage for use in your store (after signing up for the program, ACS will provide you with PDF files to print in-house or at your local printer). We ask that participating retailers sell passports for $10 each, and that all revenue from passport sales is donated to the American Cheese Education Foundation. If you would prefer to receive printed passports and signage, ACS will mail you 45 business-card sized passports and ten 8.5×11” in-store signs for a $35 fee (includes shipping).
Q: Do I need to discount a different American cheese each day in October?
A: Although the tagline “31 Days, 31 Cheeses” suggests that participating retailers will discount a different cheese every day in October, you may repeat the same cheese on consecutive days, or you may even rotate a smaller number of American cheeses through the discount program on a weekly basis — whichever model works best for your business.
Q: Can I vary the discount offered each day, or on different cheeses?
A: You may offer either a 20%, 30%, 0r 40% discount on a featured cheese each day, and you may vary the discount offered each day. For instance, one cheese may be offered at 40% off on October 3, while another cheese is offered for 20% off on October 4.
Q: Can ACS help to market my participation in the passport program?
A: As an American Cheese Month Passport Program participant, ACS will market your involvement in the program on the American Cheese Month website, via e-blasts, and via our Facebook and Twitter pages. We encourage you to promote your involvement via social media as well, using the hashtag #AmCheeseMonth.
Q: How much cheese can a passport-holder purchase at discount?
A: Please limit the quantity of discounted cheese to 2 lb per passport-holder per day.
Q: Will cheesemakers reduce the cost of their cheese in October so that my store can offer a discount and still maintain a profit margin?
A: Although we cannot guarantee that a cheesemaker will reduce the cost of a cheese in October to support the passport program, we are glad to provide you with a customizable vendor letter that outlines the program and encourages cheesemakers to participate.
Q: How do I donate the proceeds from passport sales to the American Cheese Education Foundation (ACEF)?
A: At the end of October, a member of the ACS team will contact you to coordinate the donation of passport revenue to the ACEF. Alternatively, checks made out to “ACE Foundation” can be mailed to the address below:
American Cheese Society
Attn: Passport Program
2696 S. Colorado Boulevard, Suite 570
Denver, CO 80222
Q: Can my business receive a tax donation for donating passport revenue?
A: The American Cheese Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation; as such, your donation of revenue from passport sales is tax deductible. If you would like a receipt for tax purposes after sending a donation to the American Cheese Education Foundation, please contact the ACS office at 720-328-2788.
Q: How do I sign up to participate in the American Cheese Month Passport Program?
A: To register as a participant in the American Cheese Month Passport Program, fill out the registration form on this page (it will be made available in summer of 2013) or contact ACS at firstname.lastname@example.org or 720-328-2788.
Q: What if I have more questions?
A: We’re happy to help! Just contact the ACS office at 720-328-2788.