BIO-CAT, Inc. Celebrates 35 Years of Innovation, Growth, and Excellence in Enzymes and Probiotics
In 1988, Ed Schuler and his son, Chris Schuler, along with their business associate, Brian Huffman, embarked on a remarkable journey by founding BIO-CAT, Inc. in Keswick, Virginia. Operating out of Ed’s house and Brian’s barn, they began their venture with a single 20-kilogram blender, a few exhaust fans to control dust, and a small shed for warehousing and shipping. From the very start, their vision was clear: to provide exceptional customer service, deliver high-quality enzymes, and offer same-day or next-day shipping services – all with a focus on ensuring customer satisfaction. Notably, their commitment has endured over the years, with their first five customers still with the company today.
BIO-CAT quickly established itself as one of the pioneering distributors of dietary enzymes in the United States. They were trailblazers in developing enzyme formulations for use in digestive preparations. Their expertise in enzyme formulation and custom blending has led to the creation of an industry-leading range of products, from single-to multi-enzyme blends, to unique microbial solutions serving diverse markets, including human and animal probiotics, industrial, and agricultural sectors.
The company’s journey has been marked by significant milestones. After the first building was built in 1990, BIO-CAT quickly realized the need to expand and acquired the current 26-acre facility. The remainder of that decade witnessed BIO-CAT lead the way for new quality standards in the industry while doubling in size – from employee count to the size of the facility.
The Schuler family did not slow down in the 2000s. By 2004 they had added 40,000 additional sq. ft. to include refrigerated storage, established regulatory, quality and control teams, a new quality control lab, and become FDA registered. During that time, Chris Schuler also acquired a new company in Shakopee, Minnesota expanding into the high-growth microbial and probiotic segments. Operating as BIO-CAT Microbials, this vertically integrated fermentation site leads the market in Bacillus strain development and manufacturing.
In 2010 and 2011, BIO-CAT became the exclusive North American distributor of dietary supplement enzyme products for Amano Enzyme, Inc. and Shin Nihon Enzyme Co. – Japanese based world leaders in specialty enzymes. With access to both portfolios of specialty enzymes, BIO-CAT generated more growth which necessitated an additional 15,000 sq. ft. expansion in 2013.
BIO-CAT has continued to focus on growing their operations and scientific prowess in the industry. In 2021, BIO-CAT announced plans to expand its microbial fermentation production facility, and since 2022 the company has invested in 10 clinical studies, leading to publication in multiple prestigious journals, solidifying its position as an industry leader in innovation. This dedication to innovation has resulted in award-winning ingredients, such as OPTIZIOME® P3 HYDROLYZER™, and clinically substantiated probiotics, such as OPTIBIOME® BS50™.
Today, BIO-CAT continues to thrive, with Chris Schuler leading as CEO and President, and the next generation’s involvement is securing a path for unparalleled growth and innovation with third generation Stephen Schuler, who is spearheading the development of the new state-of-the-art probiotic fermentation facility in Virginia.
Under Chris’ leadership, the company has focused on core life sciences – supporting human, animal, and plant nutrition.
“It’s amazing to see how far we have come, from our humble beginnings in a barn, to now having operations in Virginia and Minnesota. We are poised for further expansion with a second fermentation facility right here in Virginia. We have incredible customers on every continent and an extraordinary team of dedicated colleagues. We truly believe that the best is yet to come.”