Sheboygan-based Johnsonville Sausage LLC says it is "as much amused as it is surprised" that the European Union, in negotiating the terms of a new trade deal with the United States, is pushing to trademark several different foods – including bratwurst – that have originated in an EU country.
"As we understand it, because the bratwurst was born in Germany, any American-made brat would have to be referred to as a 'bratwurst-like sausage' under these proposed restrictions," said Johnsonville owner Ralph Stayer. "Where do we draw the line? Do we think that the EU should instead use terms such as 'spaghetti-like' and 'beer-style' if those items truly originated in China? No, we don't think so."
Imagine Wisconsin cheesemakers having to market "Swiss-like cheese." Or Wisconsin restaurants having to serve "Brit-style fish and chips" on Good Friday.
Stayer notes that his hometown of Sheboygan has long been known as the "Bratwurst Capital of the World." In fact, the title was legally given to the town by Sheboygan County Judge John Bolgert back in 1970.
Stayer's parents started their butcher shop in 1945. Since then, the family has produced more bratwurst than any other American brand.
"We believe that no brat, regardless of its nationality, should be used to divide us," Stayer said. "Brats, by their very nature, bring people together – in backyard cookouts and many special occasions."
Germans, including some of my ancestors, have been fleeing their homeland to come to America since 1670. Sorry, Germany. Your brats, your beers, your sauerkraut and more have all melted into our American pot. And we’re not giving them back.
Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Steve Jagler
Published Nov. 14, 2014
In recent years, the Milwaukee Bucks have not had much to celebrate when they've conducted their annual preview luncheon with the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. This year, however, there was a tangible buzz in the room at the event, which was held at the Harley-Davidson Museum.
Published Nov. 12, 2014
In essence, preserving net neutrality would ensure that all consumers and businesses will have universal levels of access to a fast Internet, not just some preferred customers who would pay for "faster lanes" on the Internet.
Published Oct. 29, 2014
Over the years, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce and its president, Tim Sheehy, have been vocal and ardent opponents of new taxes. That's why more than a few business leaders were still trying to process the messages Sheehy gave them when he spoke to the Milwaukee Rotary Club recently about the need to raise public financing for the region's cultural and entertainment venues.
Published Oct. 19, 2014
Empower your people to think like entrepreneurs and serve your customers. That was the leading takeaway message from the panelists at the first Next Stage Workshop recently presented by BizTimes.
Published Oct. 8, 2014
The Council of Small Business Executives (COSBE) recently unveiled its list of the "Fastest Five" companies.
Published Sept. 17, 2014
Bottom line: Koss is losing money, has halted production at its plant in Mexico, is pulling back on research and development of new products and is suspending payment of dividends to shareholders.
Published July 23, 2014
If you do a Google search for the phrase "bowling is a dying sport," you will discover that folks have been predicting the demise of keggling since the dawn of the digital age.
Published July 18, 2014
The Milwaukee Cultural and Entertainment Capital Needs Task Force invited business leaders from Oklahoma City, Denver and Cleveland to discuss a new arena, mass transit and other infrastructure projects in Milwaukee.
Published July 9, 2014
Though it may seem counterintuitive, there are times when the customer is not worth the drama, and the customer must be fired.
Published June 25, 2014
Kay Plantes, an MIT-trained economist, author and expert on business model innovation, recently predicted the next big wave of innovation in health care.