Our Story

The History of Bethlehem Sausage Werke

Allow us to reintroduce you to a time of the specialty butcher...

Our background in the art of sausage-making actually stems from the middle-ages and the trade guilds which still exist in Germany today. In Stuttgart, our ancestors learned and practiced this trade for generations. After honing his own skills, our father Paul Mayer set off for the United States. His dream was realized in 1982 when he acquired Kocher’s Pork Store in Ridgefield, New Jersey. It wasn’t long before local shoppers, “foodies”, and high-end wholesalers recognized the breadth and quality of the gourmet specialty sausages and delicatessen products being produced.

The growth of Kocher’s has been a true family affair. When necessary for example, we have even resorted to importing machinery directly from Germany in order to maintain our strict standards. The original store was enlarged seven times since its inception; a parking lot was constructed to accommodate the growing customer base, and a second story was added to increase production space. As we increased capacity to serve growing demand, we never lost sight of the importance of providing our customers unrivaled service and products crafted with the finest ingredients, loyal to production secrets of the past.

Kenneth Mayer and Dr. Eric Mayer literally grew up in Kocher’s. Our father insisted on our mastery of all aspects of the operation and instilled the pride in producing a quality product. After schooling, Kenneth formally joined in 1994 and has since assumed production responsibilities. This period has seen a continued expansion of the wholesale business. In addition to our own products, Kocher’s became the private-label manufacturer of several other brands utilizing their own recipes. As the American cultural landscape and taste palette continually changes, so have we. Along with our German line of products, Kocher’s produces various ethnic sausages and deli-items for Russian, Polish, Italian, and South American clientele. More recently, we have branched into organic and nitrite-free foods.

Due to our continued success, further expansion of production facilities became necessary and was no longer possible at our existing New Jersey location. Bethlehem Sausage Werke (BSW) was created as a state-of-the-art facility located in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley with the singular vision of bringing our Old-World style, renowned customer service, and delicious gourmet products to the entire United States. Understanding how our painstaking ingredient selection process and traditional small-batch production methods differ from large manufacturers becomes crystal clear the minute one savors inspiring multi-ethnic sausages, an exhaustive palette of deli items, salamis, a broad range of hams, and an array of hot dogs guaranteed to satisfy the most discerning tastes.

Still family-owned and operated, we at BSW continue to dedicate ourselves to ensuring that everything produced is of the highest standard and made from only the finest ingredients. We never consider the use of artificial ingredients or fillers. Smoked items are naturally hardwood-smoked. All of our products are made on premises, from farm-to-table ingredients sourced locally utilizing humane livestock practices. We are one of very few producers both third-party and organically certified. Our facility and products are also inspected daily by the USDA.

We thank you for your patronage and support and look forward to your next order.

With care and craftsmanship from our family to yours,

The Mayer Family