MILWAUKEE — Pretzels are proving to be very profitable for one Wisconsin company that survived the pandemic and continues to thrive.

Milwaukee Pretzel Company has become southern Wisconsin’s largest locally owned pretzel producer. The company’s factory on Milwaukee’s north side produces more than 40,000 pretzels per day.

What You Need To Know

  • Milwaukee Pretzel Company produces more than 40,000 pretzels per day

  • The Milwaukee Brewers are a large user of the pretzel company

  • Most of the breweries in the state sell their pretzels

  • The company plans to expand its facility on Milwaukee's north side

“That’s somewhere around 10 to 15 thousand pounds of dough every shift,” said Matt Wessel, who created the company with his wife, Katie.

The idea came when the Wessels were living in Munich, Germany, more than a decade ago.

“While we were there, we fell in love with these German pretzels, and really the German culture in general,” said Wessel. “It’s very similar to Milwaukee culture. The architecture, and quality of life. The beer, sausage and cheese. It made us feel at home.”

But the thing that most stood out for them were the Bavarian pretzels that were part of life in Munich. They started researching how to make them and experimented with perfecting the recipe in their tiny apartment.

“One day we had the epiphany that Milwaukee would love these pretzels, and that we could provide them back home,” said Wessel.

They moved back to Milwaukee and started baking the pretzels and selling them at events and festivals. Fast-forward 10 years, and they now employ 75 people.

“We started with one little line of hand-rolling pretzels,” said Wessel. “We now have three lines. We started with one oven, and we now have six. We started with one small mixer, now we have a lot of huge mixers.”

Maurice Craine is a supervisor at Milwaukee Pretzel Company.

“The bosses don’t feel too much like bosses, you know, they’re more of like family,” he said. “They’re very reasonable, kind, outgoing people. Whenever you need them, they make time. I know a lot of people don’t do that, especially in fast-growing companies.”

Milwaukee Pretzel Company ships its pretzels across the country to restaurants, bars and breweries. 

“I feel very blessed to be able to do something every day that I love to do,” said Wessel. “I certainly love working with my wife, and I’m excited to see where the next 10 years takes us.”