Johnsonville Owner & Sausage King Ralph Stayer Declares Support for Continued Use of the Term "Bratwurst"
Stayer calls EU’s requested limitations the “wurst” proposal in latest trade negotiations
Is it a bratwurst when it’s enjoyed at a barbecue, ball park or casual get-together? Or is it officially a bratwurst when it’s perfectly grilled and topped with coarse-ground mustard, pickles or onions?
According to those in the European Union (EU), it’s only a bratwurst if it has a “made in Germany” stamp.
“As we understand it, because the bratwurst was born in Germany, any American-made brat would have to be referred to as a ‘bratwurst-like sausage’ under these proposed restrictions,” said Johnsonville Owner Ralph Stayer. “Where do we draw the line? Do we think that the EU should instead use terms such as ‘spaghetti-like’ and ‘beer-style’ if those items truly originated in China? No, we don’t think so.”
Stayer, who is known as the “Sausage King,” notes his hometown of Sheboygan, Wis., has long been known as the “Bratwurst Capital of the World.” In fact, this title was legally given to the area by Sheboygan County Judge John Bolgert back in 1970.
Stayer’s parents started their butcher shop in Johnsonville, Wisconsin in 1945. Since then, the family has been responsible for producing more bratwurst than any other American brand. The company’s sausage is sold in more than 40 other countries.
“We believe that no brat, regardless of its nationality, should be used to divide us,” said Stayer. “Brats, by their very nature, bring people together – in backyard cookouts and many special occasions.”
Stayer commends legislators who have publicly shared their support for Americans’ right to continue producing, selling and enjoying products, regardless of where they may have originated.
“It is preposterous to think we would no longer be able to call our sausage what it really is – bratwurst,” said Stayer. He added jokingly, “I challenge the EU to a bratwurst cook-off.’”
“We believe that no brat, regardless of its nationality, should be used to divide us. Brats, by their very nature, bring people together – in backyard cookouts and many special occasions.”
As America’s No. 1 brand synonymous with bratwurst, we are as much amused as we are surprised that the European Union (EU), in negotiating the terms of a new trade deal with the U.S., is pushing to trademark several different foods, including bratwurst, that have originated in an EU country.
Wisconsin-based Johnsonville Sausage is the No. 1 national sausage brand, featuring: brats, Italian sausage, smoked-cooked links, breakfast sausage, Grillers and meatballs. Johnsonville products are served in 125 professional, college and semi-pro sports stadiums throughout the U.S.
Johnsonville employs approximately 1,600 members. Founded in 1945 by the late Ralph F. and Alice Stayer, the privately held company remains family owned today, providing various sausage products in 40 countries. For additional information, visit www.johnsonville.com.