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Johnsonville History: An American Dream Come True


We here at Johnsonville have a moral responsibility to create and maintain an environment that requires each member to fully develop their God-given talents and help others do the same. We achieve this by living the Johnsonville Way.

See how a SMALL-TOWN,


company business grew to

become America’s favorite

sausage brand and

a great place to work,

while remaining


A Recipe and a Dream

In 1945, Ralph F. and Alice Stayer opened up a butcher shop with another family and named it after their Wisconsin hometown – Johnsonville. Their shop featured delicious meats, including sausage. Ralph F. was determined to make his brat better – not with scraps of meat like other butchers used. Instead, his recipe used premium cuts of pork, better spices and a better grinding technique. When sales of his bratwurst started to exceed sales of hamburger, the Stayers knew they were onto something.

Birth of a Hometown Hero

During the 1950s, the popularity of Johnsonville Sausage exploded out of local neighborhoods and spread to nearby communities. In 1970, Johnsonville Sausage became available throughout the entire state of Wisconsin.

Made In The U.S.A.

Johnsonville is – and always has been – family owned and operated, since it was started in 1945 in the town that bears our name. The products we sell in the U.S. are all made in our Midwest facilities.

Hunger For Big Taste Grows

In 1978, Ralph C. Stayer, son of Ralph F. and Alice Stayer, became president of the company and grew interest in Johnsonville beyond Wisconsin. To meet increased demand, a second plant was built. Johnsonville ads began airing on TV, Charlie Murphy’s cooking Johnsonville brats…

Welcome to Johnsonville, USA

During the mid-1980s, the big, bold flavor of Johnsonville Sausage became a nationwide phenomenon. Sales increased 20-fold from a decade earlier, and a direct sales force was launched, expanding distribution to 47 states.

Continuing a Flavorful Legacy

Today, Johnsonville is the most popular brand of sausage in the United States and is available in more than 45 countries. The company remains privately owned and still relies on the same values and work ethic that the Stayer family instilled in its family-owned butcher shop in a small Wisconsin town.

company information

company information

Johnsonville is headquartered in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin and has approximately 3,000 employees – referred to within the company as “members.” Each member takes ownership of product quality to ensure the excellence and “Big Flavor” of our products—now available in all 50 states and more than 45 countries, including China, Philippines, Singapore, Korea, Japan, Mexico and Canada.

A Great Place To Work

A Great Place To Work

Johnsonville is a great place to work! Each team member is considered part of the Johnsonville family and is encouraged to take pride and ownership of their work and results. We’re a company that puts people before profits and do all we can to ensure our members learn, stretch and grow, in and out of the workplace. When we work as a team, we win as a team! Discover new job opportunities today.



At Johnsonville, not only are we committed to providing great-tasting, high-quality sausage, but we are also dedicated to being good stewards of the environment and ensuring our animals are treated humanely at all times. Our commitment to animal stewardship and waste reduction led us to develop a separate business.

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Johnsonville is the number-one brand of sausage in America, offering cooks and grillers more than 70 different types of sausage. Our product line includes: bratwurst, Italian sausage, fresh and fully cooked breakfast links and patties, chicken sausage, smoked sausage and summer sausage.

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