Natural Casing Company originally existed as Natural Casing Company, Inc., a subsidiary of the Patrick Cudahy Company, founded in 1951 in Hartford, Wisconsin. The focus of the operation was to supply sewn natural sausage casings for the parent company. After being acquired by Hygrade Foods corporation in 1964, an additional facility was built in Peshtigo, Wisconsin, in 1970, to meet growing demand. In 1973, Hygrade Foods decided to consolidate Natural Casing Company’s operations at the Peshtigo facility and hired Stephen Dirtzu Sr. to manage the transition. By 1975, under Mr. Dirtzu’s guidance and direction, the consolidation was completed, and an efficient, profitable, sewn casing operation was established in Peshtigo. In April of 1979, Independent Products (1979) Canada, purchased controlling interest in Natural Casing Company, Inc., retaining Stephen Dirtzu as General Manager.
Throughout the 1980s demand for sewn natural casings decreased as artificial casings gained an increasing share of the sausage casing market and the number of sewn natural sausage casing manufacturers in the United States decreased from ten to three. In contrast, however, Natural Casing Company continued to be successful and grow during this period under the guidance of Mr. Dirtzu.
In 1984, Mr. Dirtzu’s son, Stephen C. Dirtzu, joined the management team, and a year later Natural Casing Company, Inc., was acquired by the Dirtzu family, establishing the business as Natural Casing Company, a Division of SD Enterprises, Inc. By 1988, Natural Casing Company was the only manufacturer of sewn natural sausage casings left in the United States.
Difficulties in procuring raw material and labor in 1993 led to the decision to cease manufacturing operations and establish relationships with companies in Europe and South America capable of procuring the necessary raw materials and manufacturing sewn casings according to US specifications. These relationships are now well established and a variety of specialty casings are produced to our specifications from independently owned and operated casing companies in Germany and Brazil.
The company’s founder, Stephen Dirtzu passed away in 1997, and the company continues under the ownership and direction of his son, Stephen C. Dirtzu. In 2011, Natural Casing Company welcomed Stephen Dirtzu’s son, Elliot C. Dirtzu, aboard, marking the third generation for this family-owned business.
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