American Cheese Society Resources

The American Cheese Society is dedicated to providing its members, industry professionals, and cheese enthusiasts with educational resources. Whether you are seeking information about best practices in cheesemaking, hoping to get a better understanding of the terms used in the cheesemaking industry, or seeking information about food safety, our collection of resources is designed to help support you and your business. Many of our resources are available to everyone. However, there are some resources that require an active ACS membership for access. We hope you will take time to explore our resources and learn more about becoming a member to access exclusive members-only content.

Cheese Definitions

There are multiple ways to describe, organize, and classify cheese including texture, milk type, and place of origin. Regardless of the classification system, many varieties of cheese cross over from one category to another. Check out our Cheese Definitions to learn more about the different ways by which cheese is defined and classified.

ACS Lexicon & Glossary

Assessing, grading, judging, evaluating, marketing, and socializing with cheese, and the varying contexts in which these activities happen, require different types of terminology. The ACS Cheese and Dairy Product Lexicon and Glossary allows cheese industry members to communicate more readily and clearly about cheese and dairy products, helping to facilitate conversations across the supply chain of cheese. Learn more about the ACS Lexicon & Glossary.

Best Practices Guide for Cheesemakers

This Guide provides an easy reference for busy cheesemakers—especially small- to mid-size producers—and encompasses currently accepted best practices for cheesemaking. The second edition of the Guide, published in February 2017, includes updates based on changing regulations, incorporates direct feedback and clarification from reviewers at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, and provides more current resources and templates where available. Get a free digital copy of the guide here.

The Safe Cheesemaking Hub

The Safe Cheesemaking Hub is an easily searchable compendium of vetted food safety resources for cheesemakers. The website serves as a “one-stop shop” for the resources, research, training, and tools artisan cheesemakers need to enhance their food safety practices. The site also features a “Retailers Toolkit” designed to provide food safety resources for cheese and specialty food retailers.

The Safe Cheesemaking Hub is also home to many online education resources including the New Online Course: Food Safety Basics for Artisan Cheesemakers. Visit The Safe Cheesemaking Hub to access this training and other important resources.

Body of Knowledge

The ACS Body of Knowledge is a comprehensive framework that aims to encompass the interdisciplinary domains of information that comprise the knowledge base of the cheese industry. The ACS Body of Knowledge was first compiled in 2010, modified in 2012, and revised in 2017 to reflect the dynamic nature of the growing cheese industry. Read ACS’s Body of Knowledge framework here.

ACS Zotero Database

The ACS Library, powered by Zotero, is an online database of industry resources. The database covers recent news articles about the cheese industry, research papers, and professional tips and guides from those in the industry. Visit The ACS Library on Zotero to view the folders, browse tags, and search the ACS Library.

ACS Webinar Series

The ACS Webinar Series is funded by the American Cheese Education Foundation. The series offers online education to ACS members at no cost throughout the year. Access to ACS Webinars is available to current ACS members only. Find upcoming webinars here. 

Conference Educational Sessions

View slides from conference presentations from 2013 to the present, and watch Conference session video recordings from 2015-2017. Access to Conference Educational Sessions is available for current ACS members only.

Planning Guide for Cheese Festivals: A Resource for Guilds

The ACS team compiled tips and best practices for planning a successful cheese festival into this resource. From pre-event planning to post-event logistics, this is a useful reference for planning large-scale events that serve cheese and feature cheesemakers. Get your copy of the guide here.

Advocacy & Engagement

ACS engages with regulators and other key stakeholders on a regular basis to advance issues of importance to our members. This work keeps American cheesemakers, and particularly traditional cheesemaking practices, top-of-mind for industry decision-makers. An overview of advocacy and engagement efforts can be found here.

Industry Data

ACS released a Report of Key Findings from its inaugural 2016 State of the U.S. Artisan/Specialty Cheese Industry Survey. This report provides a snapshot of the small businesses that make up the community of artisan, farmstead, and specialty cheesemakers in America – a community that has been growing for years, with very little real data available to provide greater insight into this market segment. A new report from the 2018 Survey will be released in early 2019.