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Iowa History Daily: March 1 - Speed "The Sauceman" Herrig

Iowa History Daily: On March 1, 1938, Speed “The Sauceman” Herrig was born. Herrig took Cookies from a struggling barbecue sauce business started in Wall Lake, Iowa, into one of Iowa’s most beloved brands. 

Born Duane Herrig and raised on a farm near Wall Lake, Speed enjoyed cooking during his youth. After serving in the Navy as a mechanic, Herrig returned to Wall Lake in 1962 and put his motor skills to work by starting an automotive parts and motor oil business. Called ‘Speed’ due to his love of auto-racing, Herrig also started another venture focused on golf carts. 

In 1976, Herrig and roughly thirty others invested in Cookies Food Products, a small company turning out approximately 100 gallons of barbeque sauce a week and started by a man named L.D. “Cookie” Cook. The following year, Herrig took over and started selling the sauce on his autoparts route. “I just threw the barbecue sauce on the truck I was delivering auto parts with. And I was selling it to repair shops and then started calling on grocery stores,” Herrig said.

Speed and his wife Judy bought out Cookies Food Products’ stockholders in the early 1980s, and have continued to oversee the company’s rapid growth. The family-owned and operated company currently employs 17 full-time staffers and operates in a 125,000 square foot facility based in Wall Lake, Ia. where the company first began operations. Cookies distributes products to 34 states and exports to two countries. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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