Josef’s Story

Evolving from butcher apprentice to trade journeyman to certified industry expert, Josef is a bona fide master sausage maker with more than 40 years of experience making premium sausages, charcuterie and delicatessen products in the European tradition.  Follow Josef’s journey from a boy with a dream to true master craftsman.


A (sausage) star is born.

Josef Brunner was born in a small village in Austria. As a young boy, Josef dreamed of traveling and seeing the world. He loved learning about other countries and cultures and was fascinated with the United States and the idea of the American Dream.





Josef began an apprenticeship in an Austrian butcher shop. He didn’t know it then, but this apprenticeship would launch him into a lifelong career as a craftsman. It took years of study, practice, and perseverance to perfect his craft.



Josef becomes a certified butcher, a distinction that allows him to work in all of Europe. But Josef’s drive and ambition hadn’t slowed down; there was still more to learn, more to do, and more to see. He set the lofty goal of becoming a Master Sausage Maker, one of the highest specialties of butchery attainable.



Josef successfully passed his Master’s test to become a Master Sausage Maker. Now that he had achieved a mastery level in his career, Josef decided it was time to leave Austria. He loved his home and was proud of his heritage, but he had a need for personal and professional growth that just couldn’t be met where he was. So, he packed his bags and moved to Germany where he worked as a butcher for several years.



Josef thought back to when he was a young boy, eager to explore the world. He decided it was finally time to take the plunge. Not knowing a lick of English and with no money in his pockets, he headed to the United States and to make his own American Dream come true. Josef made his way to Beverly Hills, CA, where he worked in a traditional, high-quality butcher shop.



Josef moves to Colorado, working for a Swiss sausage maker. He gleaned much knowledge from his Swiss mentor. Not only did he learn traditional Swiss recipes and techniques, but he also expanded his production knowledge.


An acquired taste for Rochester.

With 31 years of experience under his belt, Josef felt ready to take the next step in his career and become an entrepreneur. This was America, after all, and anything was possible. So, after an extensive search for sausage and butcher shops for sale, he and his wife, Elizabeth, stumbled upon Hartmann’s Old World Sausage. They flew out to Rochester, NY, and fell in love with both the company and the surrounding scenic Finger Lakes region. A deal was struck, and the Brunner family packed their bags and moved to Rochester.


What’s in a name?

A lot, actually. Josef rebrands the company and names it Artisan Meats by Josef Brunner


Tried and true Red, White, and Blue!

After many years of living in the U.S., Josef finally becomes a sworn in citizen. What started out as the wishful thinking of a young boy, becomes realized through hard work and perseverance.


Livin’ the American Dream!

These days, Josef is a cowboy-boots-wearing, proud American citizen. He works hard and plays even harder. When he’s not making masterpieces in the kitchen, he’s spending time at his home in the scenic foothills of New York’s Finger Lake Region with his family and his dogs. He loves adventure, is a true outdoorsman, and can oftentimes be found riding his horses.

Josef remains a lifelong learner. This has been true not only in his career but also in his personal life. What’s next for Josef you ask? He’s learning to fly. Honest, he’s been up in the air, piloting an airplane. Not even the sky’s the limit for Josef.