Each year, the U.S. Commercial Service helps thousands of U.S. manufacturers expand in international markets. Our global network of trade professionals in over 70 countries and every U.S. state and territory can help your firm go global.
Last Published: 5/18/2017

Johnsonville, LLC

Johnsonville was founded in 1945 by the late Ralph F. and Alice Stayer.  The company was started as a small butcher shop, named after the Stayers’ Wisconsin hometown.  In 1968, the company was incorporated and since then, under the leadership of Ralph C. Stayer, has expanded to become the No. 1 national sausage brand.  Its products, which include bratwurst, Italian sausage, breakfast sausage, meatballs, and now chicken, are sold in all 50 states and 40 countries. 

In the 1990s, CEO Ralph C. Stayer made the strategic decision to invest in expanding Johnsonville’s activities outside the United States. The decision was based on the vision that one day Johnsonville would need new channels to continue to grow.

As the U.S. sausage market continued to become highly competitive, the company looked more to exports as a source for growth. Consumers in markets around the world are looking for great flavors, high quality, food safety and new innovated products tailored to their taste preferences – a trend Johnsonville has capitalized on.

The company’s international business has grown 233 percent over the past 10 years, and recently set a goal of doubling international sales within the next five years. Since 2008, Johnsonville has added 400 jobs, with many of those supported by their growing export business.

The U.S. Commercial Service aided their global expansion through Johnsonville’s use of the International Company Profile service - vetting potential business partners the company was considering doing business with.
As Johnsonville looks to the future, high import tariffs imposed by other countries and foreign exchange rates will continue to be challenges to their growth outside of the U.S. Ever-changing regulations can also complicate exporting activities, which is one of the areas the U.S. Commercial Service can provide assistance to any U.S. company looking to sell overseas.

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Iron Fist Brewing

Iron Fist had never considered exporting until it made its first sale to an importer in Sweden. Now, the company sells in over seven countries and has hired new employees due to its export growth.
Exports Protect Kentucky-based Jobs


Iron Fist had never considered exporting until meeting with a trade professional at the U.S. Commercial Service. After the meeting, Iron Fist began working with their local office who introduced them to several international beer importers. As a direct result of these introductions, Iron Fist made several export sales -- including sending a full container of beer to Sweden. By June 2014, the company had also shipped to Australia, Canada, Finland, Hong Kong, Mexico, and Norway.

Exporting has allowed Iron Fist not only to maintain existing American jobs at their brewery but also attributes the increased revenues brought in through export sales with helping them to hire two new U.S. employees.

The company credits the U.S. Commercial Service not only with introducing the company to new buyers, but also for also taking the fear out of the exporting process.

Start your company’s exporting success story today by contacting the U.S. Commercial office near you.

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Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.

Food and Beverage Market Access Trade Development and Promotion