When people think of Texas, one of the things that comes to mind is cattle. Texas became the 28th state of the U.S. in 1845 with approximately 125,000 residents – and an estimated 10 times that many head of cattle. For many South Texan families, cattle ranching became a tradition, and legendary cattle drives moved beef to markets predominantly outside of Texas.
1845 also saw first settlement of New Braunfels at the intersection of the Guadalupe and Comal Rivers. These settlers were German immigrants, and they used their craftsman skills to develop a thriving trade. Sausage is legendary in Germany, and these new Texans brought with them old-world traditions of hog-ranching and sausage-making.
Keeping Traditions Alive
For decades, most South Texas meat for local markets was either fresh-processed for immediate consumption, or dry-processed for longer-term use. Boutique processors sprang up in many towns, serving locals with unique beef and sausage concoctions.
WWII changed everything. After military training at Texas bases, the population of South Texas swelled as many veterans decided to stay. Refrigerators quickly supplanted iceboxes in post-war households. Shoppers could buy meats, dairy goods, and perishables for several days of meals, plus freeze items for longer storage. Supermarkets and mass-processed food were coming.
In New Braunfels, with just over 12,000 residents in 1950, traditions still ruled even with new technology arriving. The town enjoyed new-found notoriety as a tourist destination, a stop between Austin and San Antonio. With both residents and tourists to serve, local German-style sausage processing shifted from a cottage industry to a commercial undertaking.
A Celebration of Sausage
A veterinarian, E. A. Grist, was also the meat inspector overseeing 16 New Braunfels commercial sausage-making operations in 1961. One of those firms was the Rahe Packing Company, founded by Frank and Roma Rahe. In celebration of the local German heritage and sausage industry, Grist and a steering committee drawn from many of the sausage processors conceived the idea for “Sausage Week”.
The first event was held December 11-16, 1961. On the last day, bad weather forced the revelers inside the National Guard Armory. Beer sales in the Armory were prohibited, but a beer giveaway was a smash success. Subsequent years saw the event renamed “Wurst Week”, and eventually in 1967 “WURSTFEST”, expanding to a 10-day schedule in early November.
The Granzin Family Arrives
For many years, the Rahe Packing Company continued as one of the constants on the New Braunfels commercial meat processing scene, with its affiliated retail operation, the Landa Meat Center (“Home of Quality Meats”). Change eventually arrived; in 1973, partner Frank Janik moved to the Panama Canal Zone, and in 1976 founder Frank Rahe passed away. In May 1980, the Rahe family sold the business to Jerry Grote Custom Meats based in San Antonio, who operated it for a bit more than a year before putting the New Braunfels location back on the market.
When the Granzin family heard the former Rahe Packing Company operations were available, they jumped at the chance to own their own business in New Braunfels. Parents, Sonny and Tona, and their three boys Gary, Mark, and Michael, opened Granzin’s Meat Market in October 1981. They were at first joined by John Moy as their sausage expert, and in 1995 Mike Cox stepped in as “sausage man”.
Freshness is Everything
Competing with supermarkets is no easy task. The Granzins envisioned an old-fashioned market, keeping traditions of the freshest meats, dry sausage, and produce for New Braunfels. On-site processing of live cattle and hogs was key, and Sonny and his family built their entire operation around quality and service.
“We simply want to give our customers the highest-quality meats at good prices,” says Gary Granzin. Freshness has always set the tone. With growing popularity, the family expanded their processing to a state-of-the-art 20,000 SF New Braunfels facility in 2005, with USDA inspection on-site. This means shoppers always get the freshest possible product:
• A 153-ft long meat case houses a massive selection of beef, sausage, pork, poultry, and seafood, backed by staff who select and wrap cuts on the spot.
• Hamburger in several varieties is ground constantly throughout each day, and never treated with carbon monoxide for color.
• Bacon is cured for two weeks before sale.
• Deli sandwiches feature fresh-sliced meats and cheese.
• Dry sausage airs on open racks behind the counter.
• A showcase of hand-selected produce features staples including potatoes, onions, and peppers, alongside unique items such as avocados, Portobello mushrooms, okra, and kale.
• Private-label seasonings, in many cases the same used to process meats on-site, are packaged for retail sale, along with selections of dressing and home-canned goods.
• Breads, chips, dairy, beer, soda, wines, and condiments make for one-stop shopping.
Of course, with experienced butchers on site, special orders are welcome. Specialties in the meat case range from milanesa to stuffed quail to self-contained chili-cheese dogs, along with varieties of German-style sausage including Weisswurst and Knackwurst. Seasonally, Granzin’s offers deer processing services with individual handling, assuring hunters receive quality cuts from their own deer.
For a New Generation
The success of Granzin’s Market has brought new full-service locations, online and phone shopping, and more family members keeping the business growing. In 2012, Granzin’s expanded to Seguin, and in 2015, a third retail store opened in Pleasanton, both with the same quality and service shoppers expect.
Dry sausages, beef sticks, and jerky are now sold online, along with selected dry rub seasonings, shipped anywhere in the U.S. on demand. For local shoppers, special packages of fresh meats can be ordered via phone in advance for pickup.
A third generation of the Granzin family is helping shape the future of Granzin’s Market. Gary’s son Zane Granzin is introducing new ideas and energy, along with key managers Pete Gonzales, Jason Reyes, and Joe Salazar. Shoppers will notice our new logo and website, social media with Facebook and Twitter pages, a booth at the New Braunfels Farmers Market, and new specialty items in-store. Quality and service will always remain our primary focus.
We invite everyone to experience what an old-fashioned market should be – with the freshest meats, sausage, produce, and much more. From all of us at Granzin’s Market, thanks for being part of Texas traditions around the table.
i) “Volunteers important in New Braunfels heritage”, Myra Lee Adams Goff, Sophienburg Museum, October 30, 2016
ii) “Selling the experience”, Steve Krut, Meat+Poultry, May 6, 2013