Established in 1918 - the Legacy of Lehr's Handcrafted Sausage
In 1979, at age 18, Jeff "Red" Lehr decided to follow in the footsteps of his ancestors processing for farmers, hunters, and supplying the local community with quality products, at a fair price, and most importantly - always having a joke or a smile to brighten up your day.
Red’s lifelong dream was to one day introduce his ancestors Old-World, Small Batch Handcrafted, Artisanal Cured Sausage and Smokies to the World.
That Time Is Now
But how did it all come about?
In 1854, Heinrich Lehr immigrated to the United States from the famous sausage region of Frankfurt am Main, Germany. With him he brought the family's sausage recipes handed down by countless generations of ancestors who perfected the method of handcrafting the perfect sausage.
Soon after arriving, Heinrich's brother and the rest of the family followed and settled on the rich Midwestern farmland of Lively Grove, IL.
The Lehr family built their lives working the land, raising livestock, introducing their Old-World meat cutting skills to the local residents and creating a new generation of Lehr's steeped in Old-World sausage traditions.
Little did they know the knowledge and sausage recipes handed down to them by countless generations of ancestors would still be hand crafted almost 200 years later.
Fast forward to 1918 - Heinrich’s grandsons Emil and Tony Lehr grew a successful sausage and custom butchering business. By 1924, the Lehr brother's business grew into a general store and slaughterhouse in Tilden, IL.
In 1944, expanding the family dream, Emil and his wife Olivia moved to New Athens, IL, built a grocery store, complete with a cooler and smokehouse. The attached 2-story home was where they lived and worked serving the surrounding area with honest business and quality sausage products.
In 1955 Emil's son David graduated from high school. Naturally, David decided to join the family business full time and knew exactly what needed to be done to keep up with the modern times.
Recruiting his mother Olivia into wrapping meats and sausage, David convinced Emil to update and expand the existing building, creating a larger grocery area with more coolers.
Business flourished throughout the 50’s and into the 60’s. In 1961, David married the girl of his dreams, Carolyn. Carolyn too joined the family business learning everything including running the books, ensuring financial success.
In the 1970’s, the popularity of supermarkets took hold. Another thing that took hold was the popularity of the Lehr’s Old-World Small Batch Handcrafted sausage.
The demand for cutting, wrapping, freezing cattle, hogs and wild game was also a priority. So, in 1974, David decided to replace the grocery store area with a huge cooler and processing room.
David also made additions to the smokehouse and added a freezer adjoining the building.
1979, enter Jeff, or “Red” as he is known to his friends.
Red has now brought his families heritage to the world market to give everyone the opportunity to taste a part of history and to share the age-old secret of perfection and tasty goodness with the world.
What’s the Secret? There is no secret. We use only the freshest products to handcraft our Old-World Small Batch Summer Sausage and Smokie Snack Sticks to "Cure Your Wurst Craving".
The secret to our deliciousness is that we never rush perfection and place Love and Care at the foundation of all we do.
It's not a secret.
It’s what we do.
Taste your Ancestral Diet.
Help Each Other Thrive, Think Big, Stay Humble, Build on Yesterday, Plan for Tomorrow and Live for Today
To Honor Our Heritage and Cure Your Wurst Craving with Exceptionality and Frankness For All
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