It started as a competition between store managers.

During a renovation of the Clemmons Lowes Foods store six years ago, a group of managers came in and were challenged to come up with creative concepts to possibly implement in the store. After bandying about ideas, they landed on a winner — a custom sausage line called SausageWorks.

In select stores, SausageWorks is more than just a brand — it’s a full-on experience with a butcher-meets-factory themed store-in-store offering the grocer’s signature sausages. The company offers over 60 flavors (including some seasonal blends) that range from a classic breakfast sausage to creative concoctions like The Margarita (a blend of tequila, lime, salt, orange zest, and pork sausage) and The Vampire Hunter made with garlic, of course.

“We have a flavor profile for everybody,” says Kelly Davis, senior director of guest engagement, Lowes Foods. “We have The Kentucky Gentleman that’s bourbon and sweet tea infused, we have a smoked Louie Andouille, and we even have a breakfast sausage called The Trusty Farmer, along with The Farmer’s Daughter, which is just like The Trusty Farmer, but hotter.”

The sausage isn’t made in the store, but Lowes makes sure the product reflects its home with North Carolina-inspired editions.

“We have HoppyYummy that’s infused with Foothills beer and the Texas Pete that’s infused with Texas Pete spices,” Davis says. “That’s how we’ve leaned into local, the flavors reflect local flavors.”

As the flavor names suggest, SausageWorks allows Lowes to have a little fun with food, and customers really dig the concept, as well as the sausage itself.

Davis says that like the beer tastings available in some stores, Lowes has offered SausageWorks events like a “speed dating” night. Just as in conventional speed dating, customers get a little card to rate the different sausages they try during the event. The point is to help customers figure out which varieties they like best, and to challenge them to try flavors they might not ordinarily buy. While the events are temporarily on hold due to COVID-19, Davis says they’ll be back in the future.

“The idea is that you ‘meat’ your match,” Davis says with a laugh.

To find a SausageWorks counter near you, visit lowesfoods.com.

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