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NFL

Why are the Green Bay Packers called cheeseheads? What kind of cheese are the cheeseheads?

Cheese has been a staple food in Wisconsin for over a century when the dairy industry started to grow, and now its a part of Wisconsin sports culture.

Update:
Why are the Green Bay Packers called cheeseheads? What kind of cheese are the cheeseheads?
Scott CunninghamGetty Images

Wisconsin is known as “America’s Dairyland,” and the state’s obsession with dairy has become integrated into every part of Wiscon's culture, including its sports culture. Beer and cheese go hand-in-hand in Wisconsin, and it’s part of what makes every Green Bay Packers home game so much fun.

Green Bay is a city of just over 100,000 people. It’s a small city, but the team has one of the biggest fan-bases in the United States. Why you might ask? The weather for the games is brutal and the team’s home city is small and remote. However, Packers fans are a dedicated and determined bunch. Fans drive hours in the snow to tailgate at Lambeau Field despite below-0 temperatures and heavy snowfalls.

But what about the cheeseheads? Why do Packers wear cheeseheads?

Not only are Packers fans called cheeseheads, but they also wear them on their heads. The term cheesehead comes from Wisconsin’s large production of cheese. The state of Wisconsin produces 26% of the country’s cheese.

What’s the cheese history in Wisconsin?

Over 100 years ago, immigrants from Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and more moved to Wisconsin as the cheese industry was growing. According to the Wisconsin Cheese Mart, by the 1920’s there were over 2,800 cheese factories in Wisconsin.

What kind of cheese are the cheeseheads?

Wisconsin’s wedge-shaped foam cheesehead hats are orange with holes on them that look like Swiss cheese, which is fitting seeing as Swiss cheese was one of Wisconsin’s first specialty cheeses. Packer fans wear them with pride at games.

Why do Wisconsinites wear cheeseheads?

The term ‘cheesehead’ was originally an insult made to mock the cheese industry in Wisconsin and the cheese-obsessive folks, but the people turned that insult around as an opportunity to show their pride. The hats date back to 1987 when Ralph Bruno created the hats. They are now recognizable in the United States and around the world.

"[Cheeseheads] can go anywhere in the world, and people will know and recognize us." - Ralph Bruno

Ralph Bruno said the idea came to him when he went to a Brewers game and noticed a fan wearing a cardboard-shaped cheese on his head. This inspired him to make a more comfortable orange version of the hat with foam at the age of 26.

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