Glier’s Makes Goetta Evangelists of Us All

Why Cincinnatians spread the gospel of our breakfast staple to uninitiated locals and outsiders alike.
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Glier’s Meats, located in the heart of Covington, describes goetta as “A German breakfast sausage that blends the textures and flavors of pork, beef, whole grain steel-cut oats, fresh onions, and spices.” And Glier’s should know: they sell more than a million pounds of the delicious breakfast mash-up every year. In the same way that goetta has become synonymous with breakfast in Cincinnati, Glier’s has become synonymous with goetta.

Photograph by Marlene Rounds

I asked Glier’s second-generation president, Dan Glier, what makes goetta such an iconic local dish. He credits goetta’s quirkiness for its regional—and, increasingly, national—success: “It’s strange enough—weird enough—that people in Cincinnati take pride in it. And people take it with them, so that the whole country recognizes it.” Glier’s has a term for Cincinnatians who spread the gospel of goetta beyond our region: “Goetta Missionaries.” “Goetta Evangelists,” on the other hand, is the Glier’s term for goetta fans who introduce uninitiated locals to our beloved breakfast meat.

Of course, Glier’s Meats is the ultimate “Goetta Evangelist,” and has been since 1946. That’s when Dan’s father Robert Glier (who also came from a family of butchers) opened a small sausage shop on Pike Street in Covington. According to Dan Glier, the business operated relatively under the radar for decades before becoming the area’s premier purveyors of goetta: “For a long time, we weren’t getting any recognition. Then, about 35 years ago, we decided to focus on our best product: our goetta.”

For evidence that the company’s paradigm shift paid off, look no further than Goettafest. The Glier’s-sponsored event has been expanded to two weekends this year, in late July and early August. Dan Glier told me that this year’s festival will feature 50 unique goetta concoctions (no duplicates allowed). Goetta Missionaries and Evangelists take note: this festival will be worth the pilgrimage.

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