Geert van Wersch, Jiri Brandt and Samuel Levie stand in front of their butcher shop's red brick wall wearing spotless white aprons. They joke and laugh and if you did not know better you would think three happy hip partiers were standing in a remodeled meatpacking district after a concert. The truth is anything but. In 2011 the three founded the company which focuses completely on sausages.
They have travelled far to get where they are: learning about pig farming from Corsican farmers and meat processing from Italian butchers. They call it a type of "journey to the sausage" and laugh. They integrate what they have learnt along the way into their production: the flavors range from orange, fennel and apples to anchovies. The gourmets also appreciate this. However, they also want to gain a young, trend-conscious clientele. That is why the three meat experts also sell their sausages from a food truck: as hotdogs.
"The Mercedes-Benz 508 D from 1982 originally belonged to an old hippie who travelled throughout Europe, protested against war and slept on the back seat", explains Geert van Wersch. "When we purchased it, the first thing we did was to remodel the entire interior and install a professional kitchen." Now the bright pink food truck bearing the logo with two crossed meat cleavers travels to various festivals in the Netherlands and Belgium. "This lets us access a new target group", explains van Wersch. "Young, urban people who also value high-quality food in addition to parties and good concerts. By selling our products from the butcher shop alone we would never reach these people." That is why the former hippie van has become a marketing tool to make a name for the young Brandt & Levie Worstmakers company outside of the gourmet scene.
The Popdogs food truck counters the burger trend in London with gourmet hot dogs – very successfully.
The hot dog food truck might even continue a little bit of the old hippie's spirit today. Unless he was a vegetarian. The now 24 employees at Brandt & Levie Worstmakers only work with meat. But they do this with a lot of respect for nature. The meat is purchased from regional organic farmers and the animals are processed completely. "That is what sets us apart because most butcheries cannot do this", explains van Wersch. His role models also include the slow-food founder Carlo Petrini, who took them under his wing on their journey through Italy. "We do not waste anything and make salami, ham, pancetta, pate and even so out of the animals." The Jamie Oliver magazine recently praised this concept. The Dutch edition of Elle also recommends the soap. So their young and urban target group is growing. And the bright pink Mercedes-Benz 508 D which set the development in motion continues to tour tirelessly from festival to festival, spreading the message.
Brandt & Levie Worstmakers
Amsterdam | Netherlands
Photos: Brandt & Levie Worstmakers