Inspiring the gospel of goetta since 1946
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of 5 articles naming the winners of the 2023 Authenti-CITY awards given by the City of Covington at a ceremony last Thursday to mark National Economic Development Week. More about the awards can be found at the bottom of this article).
COVINGTON, Ky. – Odds are outsiders and newcomers to the region were introduced to this regional staple by the machinations of an insistent friend, whose relentless rhetoric about the tasty blending of pork, oats, and spices finally wore them down. (We’re a persistent lot when it comes to goetta).
Such is the persuasive power of what Dan Glier, president of Glier’s Meats Inc., calls “goetta missionaries” or “goetta evangelists” – and there’s a distinction between the two.
“If you’re bringing people into our home and they’re new to goetta, and you cook goetta for them, and they, like you, now love goetta, then you’re a goetta evangelist because they’ve come to see why you love goetta,” Glier said. “If you take goetta as a gift to someone outside of our area -- whether actually taking goetta or spreading the word of goetta to someone – then you’re a goetta ambassador.”
Glier’s family began making goetta in Covington in 1946, when his father opened a little meat shop at 439 Pike St., across from the Anchor Grill. (A propitious move that we’ve all benefitted from).
What you don’t want to be is someone who gets caught by TSA as a goetta trafficker. It’s happened, and officials from the U.S. Homeland Security agency keep Dan Glier in the know, in good-humored fashion.
"We get feedback from TSA agents saying they have people going through security trying to sneak goetta on board to take to friends or family,” said Glier.
Case in point:
“There was a lady with a big purse and she had lined the bottom of the bag with 10 rolls of goetta. She put the bag on the conveyor for TSA and on the machine they could see all the little metal clips that are on the end of the packages,” said Glier. “They start taking the goetta out of her bag and told her she couldn’t take it with her. TSA laughed at the whole situation."
But the word of goetta has traveled the globe, and in the spirit of ‘if you build it, they will come,’ it turns out if you create an entire festival around good goetta, as in GoettaFest, they will come.
“We get goetta fans from all over the world,” said Glier about GoettaFest attendance. “Keep in mind that this is self-reported by the people attending – we put up a map at the festival and ask people to place a pin where they’re from – but in 2019, before Covid, we had 130 countries represented – all 50 states, and 3 Canadian provinces.”
Today, Glier’s Meats Inc. sells several million pounds of goetta each year, according to Glier, and sees the GoettaFest bring in 200,000 to 250,000 people in over the 8-day event.
“Look, with a name like goetta, you’ve gotta be good and you have to have fun with it, and we do,” Glier said.
About the awards: The first-annual Authenti-CITY awards were unveiled by Covington’s fun and irreverent Economic Development team in 2021 to celebrate National Economic Development Week in an off-the-wall way.
There were no rules and no criteria – just staffers getting together after hours (maybe over a few drinks, maybe not) and debating fiercely about what businesses, places, events, people and organizations most “kept it real” in The Cov. The fervor had to do with this: Narrowing down the massive list (because, you know, Covington is such a cool place).
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