5 questions: Sausage king Alex Lagger adds oompah to Oktoberfest at Alpine Village

Alexander Lagger knows from sausage at Alpine Village Market in Torrance.
Alexander Lagger knows from sausage at Alpine Village Market in Torrance.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

It may only be September, but Oktoberfest — the traditional annual German beer festival — celebrations are already in full swing. Here in the Southland, the biggest festivities are arguably held at Alpine Village in Torrance, where a massive custom tent is jampacked with oompah bands, lederhosen and dirndls each weekend through the end of October. After the beer, the biggest star of the party is the sausage. Award-winning sausage maker Alex Lagger has been churning out classic European and artisan sausages at Alpine Village for 26 years. Oktoberfest is his busiest time of year, as Alpine Village feeds an additional estimated 7,500 guests each weekend. He sat down recently to chat about his craft.

Sausage-making is such a unique profession. How did you get into it?

My dad had a butcher shop. That’s how I started. I did my apprenticeship in Los Angeles at a place called Hickory Sweet. And then I spent time in Germany when I went on vacation. I’d go up to the Bay Area and work in places for a little bit. And then after 11 years, I got hired over here — and I’ve been here ever since.


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Has modernization affected your process?

No. We still have the old-fashioned machines, and we do everything by hand.

How many pounds of sausages do you make during a typical week?

We make 7,000 to 10,000 pounds a week, depending on how busy it is. During Oktoberfest, we’ll make 8,000 to 12,000 pounds of sausage.

How many different kinds of sausages do you make each week?

You know, we make over 100. It might be over 110. Now I’m doing some chicken sausages — a chile verde sausage and a habanero sausage. I’m also doing an herb chicken sausage.


What’s your favorite way to eat a bratwurst?

On a French roll. Grill them. Some people put sauerkraut on top, or grilled onions. The way I do it is simply on a good French roll with a good German mustard, and you’re good to go.

Alpine Village. 833 W. Torrance Blvd, Torrance, (323) 321-5660. Alpine Village Oktoberfest:


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