Made in Tennessee: Swaggerty's Sausage

KODAK, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The name Swaggerty's is about as common as McDonald's in East Tennessee, especially when it comes to sausage.

This Tennessee brand is in the cooler of just about supermarket in the country.

Kyle Swaggerty has helped keep the brand going since it started back in 1930. He's the grandson of the man that started the company.

"His dad bought a 100-acre farm," Swaggerty said. Eight children lived there, though the family was at risk for losing the property. So what did Mr. Swaggerty do?

"He scalded a hog in a barrel and sold it on Market Square in Knoxville."

Early on, they tried selling beef but changed their menu to only include sausage. When the company began selling their meat, more than 20 different Sevier County companies were there with them in Market Square. That number eventually dwindled to just Swaggerty's.

"You don't find many families left, family businesses left nowadays," said Swaggerty.

The business operated with trucks that used newspapers for insulation and lard cans with ice to keep the meat cool. The Swaggerty family finally got one of their first refrigerated trucks in 1960. The family even has a patent on a packaging system for the meat.

"We've gone through a lot of learning and new equipment," Swaggerty said. "[The company is] still a small batch deal."

Swaggerty said the company still focuses on their original company promises of freshness and service.