Red Panda Brewery and Cheese Factory in Bumthang

Situated right next to each other in Bumthang, Red Panda Brewery and Cheese Factory are quite interesting to visit and are owned by Fritz Maurer, the same Swiss national who owns the Swiss Guest House. Established in the 1960s, the site produces Emmenthal and Gouda using state-of-the-art cheesemaking machines. At the brewery, one can witness the process which results in unfiltered Weiss Beer.

Apple cider and wine are also available. Since it is not brewed every day, prior calling and confirmation have to be done. The cheese factory offers not just an insight into the cheese-making process but also offers a variety of cheeses to buy and also produces apple brandy and clover honey.

Bumthang Cheese Production:

Location: Bumthang Valley, a picturesque region in central Bhutan known for its fertile valleys and traditional farming practices.

Traditional Methods: Cheese production in Bumthang often follows centuries-old methods passed down through generations. Local farmers typically rear yaks and cows, which graze on the lush alpine pastures, producing milk rich in flavour.

Artisanal Craftsmanship: Cheese-making in Bumthang is characterized by its artisanal craftsmanship and attention to detail. Skilled cheesemakers use traditional techniques to produce a variety of cheese types, including soft cheeses like paneer and hard cheeses like gouda and Emmental.

Natural Ingredients: The quality of Bumthang cheese is attributed to the region’s pristine environment and the use of natural ingredients. The rich, creamy milk from pasture-fed animals lends a unique flavor profile to the cheese, reflecting the terroir of the Bumthang Valley.

Varieties: Bumthang cheese comes in various flavours and textures, ranging from mild and creamy to sharp and tangy. Some popular varieties include Bumthang Red, a semi-hard cheese with a distinct red rind, and Bumthang Swiss, reminiscent of traditional Swiss cheeses.

Local Producers: While there may not be a single “factory,” per se, there are numerous small-scale cheese producers scattered throughout the Bumthang Valley. Visitors to the region can often visit these local cheese-making facilities to observe the process firsthand and sample the delectable cheeses.

Cultural Significance: Cheese holds cultural significance in Bhutanese cuisine, often featuring prominently in traditional dishes such as ema datshi (chili cheese) and kewa datshi (potato cheese). The production of cheese in Bumthang is not only a livelihood for local farmers but also a cherished aspect of Bhutanese culinary heritage.

Tourism and Sustainability: Cheese production in Bumthang has also become a draw for tourists interested in agritourism and sustainable food practices. Visitors have the opportunity to learn about the cheese-making process, interact with farmers, and support local agricultural initiatives.

Visiting a cheese-making facility in the Bumthang Valley offers a unique glimpse into Bhutan’s agricultural traditions and provides an opportunity to savour the flavours of this enchanting Himalayan region. You can also do a day excursion to Ura Valley from Bumthang if you happen to stay more days.

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