Hanover duo plans to use 1/4-pound brat to take over the bratwurst industry
By Dan Thalmann
If Mark Stallbaumer and Coby Sedlacek have their way, the capitol of the bratwurst industry will soon be moved to Hanover. The duo has set out to take over the bratwurst industry with their original recipe 1/4-pound "Made 2 Grill" bratwursts, which they have been selling around the state at weekend festivals and events and have even entered the retail market with Kansas City's Cabela's store as one of their many customers.
How it all began
The enterprise began when Mark and Coby hounded Rick Sedlacek, Coby's father and Mark's father-in-law, to make his original-recipe bratwursts and show them how to do it. Rick developed the bratwurst recipe around four years ago as an item to sell at the grocery store he operated in Hanover. The brats also proved to be extremely popular at tailgate parties during K-State football games (when the tailgating was over, Mark said the brats were always gone while other sausages and items still sat on the grill.) However, Mark and Coby had never made the brats before.
Marketing the bratwursts
After talking to personnel at several Cabela's stores, Mark and Coby trekked to the outdoor retail mecca in Kansas City, Kansas, to attempt to make their first retail sale. They pitched their product, along with samples, to the manager of the store who brought in a few other managers to try the brats. Mark said the guy kept inviting employees and people up to try the brats and after going through almost the entire 20-25 pounds of brats they brought from Hanover, the manager asked Mark and Coby when they could get him some for the store. Their first major retail outlet was in the books. In just seven months since their start, the business has expanded quickly. The product is for sale on a retail basis at the Cabela's in Kansas City; at Kier's Thriftway, Washington, and Wildcat Express, Hanover; and in stores in Clay Center, Concordia, Axtell, McLouth, Seneca, Wamego and Wilber, Neb. More stores are being added all the time. They also sell the product over the internet off of their web site, www.made2grill.com.
What makes the Made2Grill brat so special?
Mark can quickly respond to the question of what makes their brats so special. "Number one," he said, "it's a fresh brat." He said the brats are frozen right after production so the consumer can have a fresh product to grill. The brats are also encased in a natural, fresh casing, rather than the tough casings of some other products. To finish it off, the brats are a little bigger than the competition's product. Mark said they are actual 1/4-pounders. "We've had people at every event who said they don't like brats," said Mark. "But when we convince them to take a sample, 70-80 percent say these are the best they have ever had."