Meat+Poultry - November 2022 - 38

PLANT PROFILE
75 years
better
Old Wisconsin blends new strategies and
practices with tried-and-true traditions
BY BOB SIMS | bsims@sosland.com
O
" There's a
talent in this
community
and county
that built that
quality and
the quality
around
family
businesses "
- BOB BUDDIG
ld Wisconsin Sausage Inc., Sheboygan, Wis., celebrated its 75th anniversary this year.
The company started as a small butcher shop in Elkhart Lake in 1947. The partners in
that butcher shop split and one of them moved to Sheboygan and opened Thielmann's
Sausage Co., which became Thielmann's Old Wisconsin. In 1981 Carl Buddig and Co. acquired
Thielmann's Old Wisconsin and dropped the " Thielmann's " part of the name.
Today, Old Wisconsin relies on the same attributes as it did from its beginning to now,
family business values that focus on people, and a strong community with a strong work ethic.
" There's a talent in this community and county that built that quality and the quality around
family businesses, " said Bob Buddig, chief executive officer of Carl Buddig and Co.
" We're very proud of our community, " added Steve Harrison, vice president and general
manager at Old Wisconsin. " We're proud of the people that work here. We've got a lot of
amenities that make us special, I think, including in our business and the people that we take
care of as a result of employing 500 people here at Old Wisconsin. "
CHANGE AND GROWTH
Today, Old Wisconsin produces over 40 million lbs of sausage and meat snacks a year. The
company sells more products in one month than it did in an entire year 40 years ago. And in
the last decade it's doubled its production, doubled its staff (now about 500) and doubled its
manufacturing footprint.
Excluding a plant in Illinois that is related to some of the sausage production for Old
Wisconsin, the Sheboygan packaging facility covers over 100,000 square feet and the
formulation, stuffing, thermal processing and cut-down plant is 83,000 square feet. This
provided Old Wisconsin with the means to increase its sales in the US convenience market
235%, while growing 312% across US mass club and drug retail markets, and bolster
e-commerce sales by 66% in the past year.
The difficult decision to focus on shelf-stable meat snacks and summer sausage, and
discontinue regionally distributed polish sausage, wieners, brats, etc., also contributed to the
growth by widening distribution channels beyond retail grocery.
" That was a real complicated decision because those were legacy items and things we did
very well, but they were regionally distributed, " Harrison said. " We had a lot of companies
across the country that were screaming that they needed more of our snacking items. So, we
made the decision to consolidate and eliminate those items. "
But expansion and strategy are not the only things that have changed or initiated growth
at Old Wisconsin. Hand in hand with a focus on people and culture, Old Wisconsin takes great
38 MEAT+POULTRY | 11.22 | www.meatpoultry.com
Andy Manis Photography
http://www.meatpoultry.com

Meat+Poultry - November 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat+Poultry - November 2022

Meat+Poultry - November 2022 - Intro
Meat+Poultry - November 2022 - FCa
Meat+Poultry - November 2022 - FCb
Meat+Poultry - November 2022 - 1
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