History of Queen City Sausage

Throughout the century, and for more than 100 years, Cincinnati’s historic West End was known as “Porkopolis” and was the meat capital of the US at this time. Butcher shops and slaughter houses dominated Cincinnati’s West End. Cattle and pigs were herded in the streets daily, consumed locally and shipped across the country to a very hungry and emerging America.

Queen City Sausage founder and president, Elmer Hensler was born in Cincinnati’s West End, in the middle of nine children. By age 12, Elmer was working and exploring the thriving meat business in the neighborhood slaughter houses before school. In those days, suburban neighborhoods did not exist and people lived in or around the big cities and the businesses that supplied the community.

Elmer Hensler joined forces with Cincinnati’s “spice man,” Alois Stadler, and master sausage-maker, George Nagel, to create Queen City Sausage. Using authentic German recipes and techniques, they earned a reputation for making the best sausage in all of Porkopolis, aka Cincinnati’s Camp Washington where the Queen City sausage factory still resides.

With more than an estimated $10 million reinvested in the most modern equipment and processes and up-to-date campus, over 30 years, Elmer Hensler and his team grew Queen City Sausage more than ten times. The company also earned the coveted USDA federal inspection certification after meeting and exceeding all of the organization’s stringent quality requirements.

Elmer Hensler, the self-made son of Cincinnati’s West End, becomes the sole owner of Queen City Sausage & Provisions Inc. When he buys out his long-time partners. Elmer Hensler fulfills his life-long dream of being a successful business owner.

More than 15 million Queen City sausage links are crafted. Less than 45 years later, Elmer Hensler’s initial 1965 investment of $13,000 has turned into record sales.

Queen City Sausage Bratwurst becomes the official bratwurst of the Cincinnati Reds baseball club. Elmer Hensler looks toward expanding the exciting Reds sponsorship to include the Queen City Mettwurst and other popular sausages.

What was once populated by 40 different meat shops, is now the backdrop to one fine craft sausage-maker. Queen City Sausage is Porkopolis, and no one is more delighted than Elmer Hensler himself. The little meat shop that started with a dream and a whole lot of dedication has transformed into the region’s largest locally-owned and operated sausage producer. At age 81, Elmer is engaged every day like the first to ensure the craft-sausage tradition he defined lives on forever.

Expansion plans began as adjacent property was purchased and old buildings razed.  The goal was to build a 14,000 square foot building to house the main sausage production.  This new facility streamlined production and efficiencies.

New products such as Goetta Slices hit the retail shelves to much appreciation and acclaim.

Greg King joined the company as the new Vice President of Sales and Operations. Greg is a Queen City Sausage and Kroger Company management veteran.
The company continues to see a trend where the sales of Hot Sausages continue to gain even more in popularity. The “Hot” sausage category now dominates as the #1 product category. Unheard of when you realize Hot is up against the venerable Queen City Bratwurst and Smoked Sausage.

Wicked Hot Smoked Sausage is born. Hot sausage demand continues to trend and our answer was to create a new line of hot sausages driven by an individual pepper. To begin the project, Wicked Chipotle, Wicked Habanero, Wicked Jalapeno and Wicked Ghost were created. Wicked has proven to be the most successful new product launch in recent memory. Discovery and demand continue to grow for this incredibly delicious sausage line.
Suddenly soccer took Cincinnati by storm and Queen City Sausage responded as the “official” sponsor of FC Cincinnati. The team continues to ignite and unify the city’s sports fans. Queen City brats, and mettwurst dominate the concession stands for happy fans.

Sales continue to climb. Elmer, at 89 continues to arrive at work daily. Looking forward to his 90 th Birthday Celebration in 2020.