A STORY THAT TASTES GOOD
The history of our company started in 1918 in Castelo Branco, when the couple Santiago dedicated themselves to breeding 200 sheep that produced around 30 litres of milk per day.
Queijos Santiago has more than 100 years of history in the production of national cheeses with 100% Portuguese milk.
With three factories throughout Portugal – Montemuro, Palmela, Portalegre, and a Logistics Centre in Venda do Pinheiro, Queijos Santiago is responsible for the picking, production, packing and distribution of all its products, which allows it to guarantee the maximum quality of the cheese that gets to the Portuguese table.
1918- THE ADVENTURE BEGINS
Joaquim Duarte and Josefa Bispo, the ancestors of the couple Santiago, got married and continued with a business in poor growth due to the First World War: The Casa Agricola. In this phase, the production depended on 200 merina sheep that produced 30 litres of
1922 – THE STARTING POINT
The handmade production of Queijos Santiago started in Castelo Branco, where the family produced cheese for their own consumption in Cafede and Póvoa de Rio Moinhos
1937 – MARRIAGE OF THE COUPLE SANTIAGO
Joaquim Santiago got married to Maria da Conceição Bispo Santiago, the oldest daughter of Joaquim Duarte and Josefa Bispo, starting for the second time the family business of dairy products: Queijos Santiago. With the very modern distribution process of that time (a
sledge and direct sales), the couple Santiago started selling their cheese in the local street markets (Alcains, Fundão, Ponte Pedrinha).
1939 – BIRTH OF THE FIRST SON
José Alexandre Duarte Santiago was born, the first son of the couple Santiago and the third generation in the business.
1953 – FROM MILK TO BUTTER
With a Westfalia skimmer and a 25 litres barrel, Joaquim Santiago made the prototype of a mixer and started whisking the cream of sheep milk to make butter, a rare delicacy for the time.
1959 – BUTTER CALLS CHEESE
Santiago’s cheese won the award of best sheep cheese.
José Alexandre Santiago stands out in the Milk and Dairy Products subject in the Practical School of Paiã.
Until the end of 1959, Santiago’s family was one of the few to produce handmade sheep butter in Portugal. The sales of the butter boosted the consumption of cheese.
1960 – DELIVERIES IN THE CAPITAL CITY
Cheese and butter got to Lisbon by train. One of the twelve uncles of José Alexandre Santiago was an employee at CP, and received the products in the Alcântara-Terra station and sold them in the nearby groceries.
1963 – MOVING TO ALCÂNTARA
In the beginning of the 60s the business approach was settling in the capital city. Therefore, Santiago’s family moved to Lisbon with “luggage and cheese”, and started living in the area of Ajuda.
1964 – PALLETS OF CHEESE
José Alexandre Santiago arrived in Lisbon after finishing the military
service in Azores and dedicated himself to the dairy products business,
focused on a quantitative and qualitative growth.
It is the beginning of production in Quinta da Barroca, Sacavém.
The fresh cheese production was of about 100 litres per day, enough to
make it one of the reference products of Queijos Santiago. At that
time thousands of kilos of cured cheese coming from Beira Baixa were
sold (usually manufactured with sheep milk coming from the
production of some Santiago’s relatives).
In the summer, Santiago’s family dedicated themselves to the sale of
melon to balance the family income, once no cheese were sold in the
hot season since it was impossible to preserve them.
1968 – THE FIRST FACTORY
The opening of the first factory occurred with 6 employees, in Algés.
They guaranteed the regular production of fresh, cured and cottage
cheese, made with sheep milk, once the cow milk was held by a
monopoly and it was resold by only one brand.
1977 – FRESH COW CHEESE
After the competition law was ratified, milk was divided between “consumption” and “industrial purposes” creating the opportunity to work with cow milk. Santiago’s Cow Fresh Cheese were born.
1978 – PASTEURIZATION OF THE PRODUCTION
The mandatory pasteurization of the milk, imposed by the Agriculture Ministry to fresh cheese producers, benefited Santiago’s family, once they were already using this process and didn’t have to adapt. This advantage allowed them to gain share and rapidly expand the business.
1985 – RISE IN MILK PRODUCTION
The production of milk, from cow or sheep, rose to 2000 litres per day.
With the growing consumption of cured sheep cheese, 70 tons of
cheese produced per year are reached, with a wide distribution to
Lisbon, Cascais area, Covilhã and Guarda.
A new area of 480m2 for the cure of cheese followed the growth in
consumption and production.
1995 – FROM ALGÉS TO MONTEMURO
When 8 to 10 thousand litres of milk per day were going through the
factory in Algés there was the need to resettle the factory because it
was in urban ground.
The solution was to buy one of the competitors, JD Lacticínios. This
brand had a production factory in Montemuro (Mafra), where Queijos
Santiago started to work with 20 employees producing the very much
appreciated fresh cow cheese. At that time a litre of sheep milk had a
higher cost than the cow one, marking a clear difference in taste and
2000 – CONQUEST OF THE NORTH AND CERTIFICATION
Acquisition of Lidador (cheese and sausages) to consolidate the
distribution of the northern area of the country.
Obtaining the quality managing certification, ISO9000, for the
production plant of Montemuro which represented a high valuation
and turned Queijos Santiago into the first dairy products company to
be certified by that norm.
2001 – NEW FACTORY IN MONTEMURO
Opening of a more modern factory, with a higher capacity of
production, making the concept of tradition and well doing more
2007 – FRESH CHEESE LEADERSHIP
After the acquisition of Campainha brand, the biggest competitor in
fresh cheese in the region, the leadership of the fresh cheese market
2013 – PRODUCTION OF NISA DOP CHEESE
Acquisition of the strong brand Nisa DOP. The Protected Origin Denomination enhances the presence of Queijos Santiago in the cured cheese group.
2015 – AZEITÃO AND THE EXPANSION
The growing of Santiago’s company went to Azeitão, with the acquisition of a production factory in Palmela, where the
acknowledged Azeitão DOP cheese was made.
2016 – INTERNATIONALIZATION
Expansion works started in the Montemuro factory giving way to the
internationalization of the brand Santiagus.
2017 – WINNING BETS
Obtaining a worldwide important certification, IFS Food, for the factory of Azeitão, which contributed to the objective of expanding the sales to other countries.
2018 – CENTENARY
Year of celebration of 100 years of history and tradition of Queijos Santiago.
IFS Food Certification in the units of Montemuro and Torres Vedras.
2019 – A PROMISING FUTURE
Work in the factory unit of Portalegre started with an expected
conclusion in 2022.
2020 – EXPORT TO THE 5 CONTINENTS
Rise in the export of the brand which already had a list of more than
20 countries in all continents.
2021 – “THE JOY OF BEING HEALTHY” MOVEMENT
Queijos Santiago takes an active role in the promotion of a healthier
style of living, boosting the consumption of fresh cheese and cottage cheese. Launching of the variety Fresh Cheese for Spreading.
2022 – A COLLECTIVE COMMITMENT
The programme “Know how to Protect – We care today to taste
tomorrow” is born, in the scope of Sustainability in environmental,
social and economic commitments and objectives.
Opening of the production unit of Portalegre.