“Our grandfather swore by his original Rühle. So it is with us.” (Patric und Christoph Dosenbach)
When you want to know how to marry tradition and HighTech, in true Black Forest style, then you have to visit Dosenbach. For 130 years, this family of butchers has had a shop in Bad Bellingen, a spa at the edge of the Black Forest. Brothers Patric and Christoph Dosenbach head the operation, now in its fifth generation.
Today, at Dosenbach, many things are still done as they were more than 100 years ago. There is a classic smoke room for the Black Forest ham, which is left to cure for eight weeks before it is sold. That is tradition; that is the Black Forest way. But where it makes sense to do so, the brothers invest in the latest technology. Cutting, curing, wetting, packing – the Dosenbachs’ collection of machinery is constantly growing. Here you find Rühle’s genuine originals.
Behind the scenes, everything chugs along smoothly. Production is meticulously worked out, and procedures are clear. Every step falls into place, and each worker has a clearly assigned task. Nothing is left to chance. Quality matters above all. That is also why Dosenbach products are so prized.
The company employs 50 workers and has four sales outlets of its own. Yet today Dosenbach makes more than half its revenues from its retail business. “Merchants love our goods,” says 31-year-old Patric. Like his brother, who is two years younger, Patric learned the business from his parents. He never wanted to be anything but a butcher. And he never doubted that he would continue the tradition. “From my earliest boyhood, there was never any question,” he says. Only Christoph entertained brief fantasies of being an automechanic. “Fortunately, I changed my mind,” grins Christoph.
The products from the Bad Bellinger butcher find their way all over the Rhineland region. The original Black Forest specialities are also popular in neighbouring Alsace. The Dosenbachs have expanded the classic business model of the family-led butcher who supplies the village with meat and sausages by also supplying bulk consumers throughout Germany – such as canteens – with traditional specialities. These are produced by hand, according to recipes passed down, nearly unchanged, from the Dosenbachs’ great-great-grandparents.
What is different now has to do with customer expectations. Today, they can choose between the local butcher, the supermarket at their doorstep or even online shopping. A year and a half ago, Patric introduced yet another distribution channel by installing a sausage vending machine in the shop at Bad Bellingen. Here you can buy specialities such as ring bologna and ham shoulder as well as snacks such as chocolate bars and small drinks. “We have to load it up every day,” says Patric.
Modern customers know what a traditional piece of ham shoulder should look like. These local specialities are among the most sought-after products from Dosenbach. However, the meat is no longer cured by hand but rather using the latest technology from Rühle. The result is impeccable and tasty.
Dosenbach has been relying on Rühle’s genuine originals for decades. “Over 40 years ago, our grandfather bought a bacon cutter from Rühle,” Christoph recalls. But it hardly compares with the current HighTech manufactured in the Black Forest. From the looks of it, the Dosenbachs are collecting Rühle originals. They even have a net applicator device, a tumbler with a reverse mixer and a cutting machine. The brothers agree: their Rühles are “indispensable”.