Josef Brunner grew up in Austria, where sausage making is considered an artisan trade. Growing up with such an appreciation for the craft left Josef with a desire to create products of the highest quality.
Josef’s career began in 1978 with an apprenticeship in an Austrian butcher shop. This opportunity allowed Josef to learn the fundamentals of the trade. Throughout his apprenticeship, he also attended trade school, which resulted in the successful completion of his Journeyman’s test. Passing this rigorous test certified Josef to practice as a butcher in Europe.
Although he could have settled into his career at that point, Josef was not yet satisfied. He began preparing to take a Masters test. Passing this test left Josef certified as a master sausage maker.
Following the Masters program, Josef moved to Germany, where he practiced as a butcher for several years. Feeling an itch to explore, he began searching for an adventure. His sights eventually landed on the United States and in 1986 he left for New York City with a friend.
After spending several days in New York City Josef decided to head to Beverly Hills, where he eventually began working in a small butcher shop. The shop's proprietor was very focused on maintaining tradition, a trait that reminded Josef of the sausage production in his native Austria. It was at that point that Josef decided if he ever had the opportunity to own his own business, he was going to operate it with the same traditional, quality minded attitude.
After several years, Josef’s career took him to Colorado, where he worked with a Swiss sausage maker. In his three years there Josef vastly expand his production knowledge, learning many traditional Swiss recipes and techniques.
By 2004 Josef had 31 years of experience and was ready for a new challenge. He began searching for a good company with an opening for a master sausage maker. Josef eventually came into contact with Mrs. Brigitte Hartmann, owner and operator of Hartmann’s Old World Sausage. Josef flew to Rochester, New York to check out both the company and the surrounding location. He found himself impressed with both. The position was his, and the Brunner family moved to Rochester in September of 2004.
Confident with Josef’s ability, Mrs. Hartmann sold her company to the Brunners, who have successfully owned and operated what has grown into Artisan Meats since November of 2004.