Invermere’s local butcher shop continues to bounce from success to success and, with award-winning sausages and a new sausage stuffer under its belt, promises even more great things to come.
Michael Hecken and Craig McGowan bought Konig Meat and Sausage Company three years ago. Michael trained as a butcher in Germany, where he is originally from, before coming to Canada on a work visa and working at Konig (which means “king” in German) under its previous owners. He met Craig as both were members of the Invermere Fire Department. Their friendship turned into a business partnership when the pair bought the meat company and, according to Craig, it’s been an awesome ride ever since.
Konig now offers more than 25 different gourmet sausages and 22 kinds of specialty cheese (including many European types), and the pair credit their success to exacting German standards of butchering combined with a dedication to the local food scene.
“More than 60 per cent of the stuff we have in our store, we produce here locally in our shop, and a lot of our products are sold in valley restaurants and supermarkets,” said Craig. “When something is locally made, such as our sausages, there’s care and pride going into it, that you just don’t get with cheaper generic brands.”
Crafting the perfect gourmet sausage takes a lot — the right ingredients, the right ratios of fat to lean meat, the right grinding, the right amount of time (if it’s an air-dried sausage), and the best mix of spices for the given type of sausage, according to Craig, who added that, as head butcher, Michael is a veritable sausage master.
“It’s an art form over there in Germany; he’s studied it intensively and it shows,” said Craig..
Konig earned a silver medal at last year’s Great Canadian Sausage Making Competition. The company — which also cuts, wraps and processes meat for local farmers and hunters — recently spent $80,000 on upgrades, including a prized new sausage stuffer.
“We purchased the new sausage stuffer out of Germany, and it’s kind of like the Cadillac of sausage stuffers,” said Craig.
Since the Victoria Day long weekend, the new metallic workhorse of a machine has churned out 50,000 sausages. Konig plans to also upgrade its smoker and kettle sometime in the future.
For more information, check out konigmeats.com or call 250-342-9661.