Our Story

For eighty-one years, Dreymiller & Kray, Inc. has been tantalizing palates with our mouth-watering, savory smoked meats. We have been captivating taste buds of families for over four generations.

Our customers inspire us to continue smoking meat in a very traditional fashion. It is when parents bring their children with them to share the tradition of smoky flavored morsels that we smile. This is when we know we have performed our talents and can take a moment to appreciate this gift.

In 1929 two brothers, Frank and Howard Dreymiller opened a small meat market in Hampshire, Illinois. It took on many names over the years such as Dreymiller Brothers, Dreymillers, and Hampshire Cash Market. After many years in the business, Frank wanted to retire and sold his share of the business to Everett Kray shortly after WWII. That is when the name became and remains Dreymiller & Kray, Inc. The two brothers focused on the smoking of meats, but when Everett entered into the business they expanded into custom processing for farmers.

Frank 'Happy' Dreymiller as a young man working at Melms Market. Notice the sawdust on the floor and the half of beef hanging.

As our country became more wealthy and families grew, they expanded the retail and wholesale business. During the late fifties, smoked hams and bacon were sent throughout the United States and even to President Eisenhower in the White House.

In 1941 inside the store. From Left to Right, Frank 'Happy' Dreymiller, Chris Burner, Howard Dreymiller, future owner – Everett Kray, and Charles Blank.

During the late sixties, Dreymiller & Kray wanted to retire so they sold out to five long-time employees who continued in the tradition. One of the owner’s sons, Ed, at an early age started making small batches of sausage and beef jerky in the smokehouse. Unaware of the irresistible appeal and joy back then from crafting smoked products in a traditional manner, Ed and his wife Carol, purchased Dreymiller & Kray, Inc in 1988.

By the mid-90s the family farms in the area were all but gone and we made the decision it was time to stop custom slaughtering. It was then that we truly realized the power of natural smoking. This lost art had a great effect on the palates of people. This is when we took all our energy and placed it to the origin of the Dreymiller Brothers Meat Market and the traditional craftsmanship of smoked meats.

With the lifestyles of today, Dreymiller & Kray remains accessible in neighborhood groceries and through the Internet. We still use the traditional whole applewood or hickory logs, not sawdust or liquid style smokes, in our brick smokehouse which was built in the 1940s. Dreymiller & Kray focuses special attention when crafting our meats in a traditional artisan fashion, ranging from fermented dry cure sausages to our hams and bacon. Using science, craftsmanship, along with fresh spices, we blend our own recipes to bring you the old world artisan flavor to your palate.

“Dreymiller & Kray Is The Name to Remember For A Taste You’ll Never Forget”!