Germany native selling her bottled homemade sauces
HOUSTON, Minn. -- Rosemarie "Rosi" Buege has been offering homemade sauces at her authentic German restaurant, Through the Grapevine, for 12 years. Customers often asked if they could buy the sauces, but it wasn't until an inspector made the sugg...
HOUSTON, Minn. -- Rosemarie "Rosi" Buege has been offering homemade sauces at her authentic German restaurant, Through the Grapevine, for 12 years. Customers often asked if they could buy the sauces, but it wasn't until an inspector made the suggestion that Buege seriously thought about bottling and selling her concoctions.
"I had always wanted to bottle and sell them, but didn't know where to go or what to do," Buege says. "He steered me in the right direction."
She started by getting a nutrition analysis of each sauce at the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute's food lab in Crookston, Minn.
The institute also helped her connect to a seminar on marketing new products.
"I knew quite a bit about marketing, but I'd like to know more," she says.
Since then, she's designed her labels, complete with bar codes so they can be sold by local grocery stores.
Buege is a native of Germany, and she met her husband there while he was serving in the Air Force. The couple first lived in Houston, but eventually decided to move to another Houston -- in Minnesota -- to run the dairy farm where her husband had grown up.
The abundance of flower baskets hanging from the restaurant's ceiling are remnants of her past floral business.
"I started to get arthritis in my fingers, so I decided to try serving people the food that I grew up eating," Buege says.
Her menu includes German favorites such as jager schnitzel, reubens and schnitzel sandwiches, onion soup and Polish sausage. She says she's most famous for her cod, which is dipped in her schnitzel mix.
Rosemarie's Authentic German ketchup, sweet horseradish sauce, spicy cocktail sauce and tangy tartar sauce can be found in several southeastern Minnesota grocery stores. People often have requested the mix she uses, so she's now selling that in stores as well.
"I'd like to expand into more stores, but I don't think I could keep up with demand," Buege says.
After the lunch rush one recent day, she sat down at an empty table and began placing labels on plastic bottles in a box.
She hopes that she'll someday, be able to afford a bottler and distributor, but for now, her family has been helping her fill, seal, label and box them all by hand.
"Sometimes I think people really do drink this stuff like water," Buege says holding up a bottle of her sweet horseradish sauce. "I fill them up and they're empty in no time."
Her sauces aren't like American sauces.
"American sauces tend to have a sour taste," Buege says. "German sauces have different herbs and spices in them."
Buege tries to use local ingredients in her sauces, which she mixes in large batches in her restaurant kitchen.
She decided to put her German family crest on the labels.
"I didn't want my own face on there, you know, like Paul Newman has on his products," Beuge says.
She's not sure how long she'll continue running the restaurant.
Her husband has retired from farming and the couple currently is renovating their barn to create lodging for hunters.
"You can't dance at two weddings," Buege says about her busy schedule.
Even if she does eventually close the restaurant, she says she'd continue selling her coveted sauces.