Sausage specialities according to family tradition

From “backpack butcher” to mid-size family company with three production sites: Since it was founded in 1906, Kupfer has succeeded in growing. Take a look back with us at over 100 years of history at the Heilsbronn based company.



Hans Kupfer grew up in the ‘golden age’ of the German Empire together with nine siblings, and first learned the butcher’s trade in Schwabach. In 1895 he successfully passed his final examination and went off travelling, as was common at the time,


Hans Kupfer & Son butcher was founded on Abteigasse street in Heilsbronn.


Hans Kupfer completes his master certificate. The activities of the business become ever more focused on the Nuremberg-Fürth area in the following years. Hans Kupfer’s trusty sidekick is his bicycle, hence the nickname “backpack butcher”. In the following years, the “backpack butcher”’s company slowly began to flourish into a craftsman’s business.

Until 1945

The first employees are recruited, new machines are purchased, a cold storage warehouse is built and a delivery truck is bought. The business has to close temporarily during the second World War.

From 1946

And so it continues: Step by step, the facilities are expanded, the number of employees rises to 20 and more efficient machinery is put to use. The entire 50s and 60s are characterised by strong growth. Production volumes and staff numbers increase quickly, and the first major contracts are taken on.


Otto Kupfer senior, Hans Kupfer’s son, takes over management of the growing butcher and expands its market to include the whole of Germany.


A milestone in the company’s 64-year history: the move from the Abteigasse to Mausendorfer Weg 9. The construction of the new facility takes less than two years. Every day, up to four tonnes of fresh sausage and three tonnes of canned sausage are produced. The initial butchering of the slaughtered animals is a part of the production process. During this period, a large number of deliveries are to catering customers. Employee numbers continue to grow and numerous awards mark the company’s success in the next few years.


120 employees are working for Kupfer at this time, and the production lines create 70 different sausage products. Especially pleasing: In 1975, 18 products were already recognised by the DLG.

End of the 70s

Kupfer now employs 200 members of staff and is growing throughout Bavaria. Sausage products begin to be delivered beyond the local region. This involves unpackaged sausages which are sold at the meat counter. In this period, the variety of both products and customers increases greatly.


Otto Kupfer, the son of Otto Kupfer sen. born in 1957, joins the management and becomes part of the sales department. In 1985 Otto Kupfer sen. hands over the management of the family business to his son Otto. With the successful entry into the Spanish and French markets, Kupfer enters the next years active throughout Europe. Thanks to the change in management, a far-reaching change in strategy was also achieved: From now on, the company will no longer carry out its own cutting operations; slaughter and the associated purchase of livestock will also be eliminated. In addition, the wide range of sausage products will be reduced to a concentrated number of sausage products. In the customer area, too - with Aldi Süd and Norma - there is a change from many small customers to major customers of the food retailer and of the discount. At that time, 75% of the products are already manufactured "just in time" in line production. The strategy change is successful - copper remains on a growth course.


Advances in technology are put into practise: The first production line for bratwurst is set up.


Kupfer takes over the company Thüringer Wurstspezialitäten VEB Ilmenau and founds Ilmenauer Wurstwaren GmbH. Thuringian specialities like the Original Thuringian Bratwurst are added to the range.


The company Gebrüder Kupfer GmbH is founded in Nuremberg. Nowadays, 1,000,000 original Nuremburg bratwurst are produced every day.


A highly modern production plant is opened at Günthersleben, and the yearly production volumes increase to 15,000 tonnes.


The first poultry products go on the market. The new build in Heilsbronn (Werk 2) for the production of poultry sausage is finished at the start of 2000.


Kupfer continues to grow: The new management offices are completed in Heilsbronn. The company invests in renovations of its production sites and builds a third facility. Kupfer also enters into the convenience market. The number of employees has increased to 850.


Shock moment: The entire production facility in Heilsbronn is destroyed in a major fire.


After the fire, buildings and equipment are rebuilt as quickly as possible and according to the newest standards. A major feat requiring the maximum level of engagement in the business, and one which has proven its worth until right up to today. In the meantime, Kupfer is producing two thirds of its volume on other sites, and so it can remain active on the market with its Nuremberg and Günthersleben factories.


The new production facility in Heilsbronn starts out with 450 employees. The 50,000 square metre, two storey building is one of the most modern factories in Europe, with its own sewage plant, solar energy system and a high-bay warehouse with 4500 storage spaces.


Johannes Kupfer, Hans Kupfer senior’s great-grandson, joins the company. At the side of his father, Otto Kupfer junior, he is a part of the company management and the sales team.


Kupfer is a regular exhibitor at the apprenticeship fair in Ansbach. There is also a fair in Heilsbronn.


With 175 million euros, Kupfer reaches the sales volume of the year before the 2006 fire for the first time. Meanwhile, 850 employees are working for the family company.


Kupfer takes part in the world’s largest commercial trade fair for the first time: the Private Label Manufactures Association (PLMA) in Amsterdam. In addition: The first idea rallies are held, where suggestions for improvements are collected from all employees.


Extensions and new buildings improve the Nuremberg and Günthersleben sites. In Heilsbronn, Kupfer’s Butcher’s Market and Country Bistro opens. The butcher’s and outlet store are under the management of Jakob Kupfer, great-grandson of Hans Kupfer, and his wife Julia Kupfer. This year marks the first exports to the USA.


Maximilian Kupfer, great-grandson of Hans Kupfer, joins the company. At the side of his father, Otto Kupfer, he is a part of the company management together with Johannes Kupfer, and is head of the department for employee loyalty and recruitment. He is also responsible for the area of sustainability. Kupfer now employs 1000 workers.


Kupfer breaks the 200 million euro mark for turnover for the first time, and announces its new company vision. As well as the commitment to tradition, quality and innovation, the goal is to be one of the top 10 in the sausage industry. The family business continues to engage in the support of the rising talent: Kupfer is a cooperating partner with the Petersaurach middle school, the Special Needs Support Centre in Neuendettelsau, and the Nuremberg Technical College. We are a regular participant in the internship fair at the Heilsbronn Realschule high school. In health management, partnerships are created with B-Fit Neuendettelsau and Fair Fitness Nuremberg.

Hans Kupfer & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG Sausage Specialities
Mausendorfer Weg 11 · 91560 Heilsbronn
Phone (+49) 09872/804-0 · Fax (+49) 09872/804-123

Gebrüder Kupfer GmbH & Co. KG
Marburger Straße 8 · D-90427 Nürnberg
Phone: (+49) 0911/93618-0

Ilmenauer Wurstwaren GmbH & Co. KG
OT Günthersleben · Ebsdorfer Grundstraße 6
D-99869 Drei Gleichen · Phone: (+49) 09872/804-0