CINCINNATI – The owner and president of one of the last surviving sausage makers in Cincinnati attributes his success to fresh ingredients and authentic recipes. Elmer Hensler figures at least 40 other meat companies have gone out of business since he started Queen City Sausage & Provision in 1965. The company’s longevity and reputation paid off in February when Queen City signed a three-year deal with the Cincinnati Reds to become the exclusive bratwurst supplier at Great American Ball Park.
The Queen City deal is one of several new wrinkles in the Reds’ promotional lineup this year. They’re going to put me in 12 stands and on the menu boards. We’ll be on all the TVs in the stadium. I’m in the parade too,” said Elmer Hensler, Queen City’s president and owner.
Dayton Daily News
Even during the recession, the company had its best year in 2009. New equipment boosted production and made the company more efficient, Hensler said.
Peak production comes during the summer grill season when Queen City makes 120,000 pounds of sausage a week. The company sold 15 million sausage links last year, enough to stretch 1,300 miles, said general manager Patrick Miller.
He and two partners started the business in 1965 with $13,000 in personal savings. By 2001, Hensler had bought out his partners and started expanding the plant.
The company's operations include a maze of buildings with huge, stainless steel machines that process, smoke and package 40 types of sausages, lunch meats, hams and roast beef.
Hensler says he has no plans to take Queen City national despite its success. He currently sells to 100 independent vendors and small and large grocery stores in Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and parts of Indiana, including Findlay Market, Kroger, Meijer and Remke Markets.
"I'm not trying to be the biggest, I just want to be the best," Hensler says. "As long as I enjoy what I do, I'll keep coming in."