Most people don’t expect their high school job to launch their future career and success in the world. But what if you knew exactly what you wanted to do from a young age?
For Fredericksburg native Case Fischer, his future career began in the humble roadside fruit stand of Das Peach Haus, and his future wife and children would all become involved in a multi-million-dollar, family-run company.
Fredericksburg, Texas, is known for its scenic hills, wineries, and many other attractions. With over 1.2 million visitors to the region annually, it’s second only to Napa Valley in wine tourism. Fredericksburg offers a picturesque, small-town escape from the hustle and bustle of sprawling Texas cities like Dallas, Houston, and Austin. The work ethic of the town’s distinctly German roots contributed to the thriving businesses visitors know and love today.
Fredericksburg’s Unique History
Fredericksburg was founded in 1846 by German immigrants looking for a better life. John O. Meusebach chose the name Fredericksburg in honor of Prince Frederick of Prussia. Settlers had lots in town, along with a 10-acre lot outside of town. In 1847, Meusebach negotiated a treaty between Comanche Indians and the town of Fredericksburg. The mutual defense pact is believed to be the only unbroken peace treaty between American Indians and U.S. settlers.
Mark Wieser was one of those settlers. He renovated an 1870 German log cabin and founded his roadside fruit stand, Das Peach Haus. The small fruit stand quickly became a well-known spot for locally harvested peaches and preserves, and the company is still thriving 150 years later.
Fischer & Wieser: A Fredericksburg Success Story
Case Fischer joined Mark Wieser’s company back in 1979 with the job of harvesting peaches. Case became intrigued by the customers’ enthusiasm over the products made from fruit right out of Wieser’s orchard. Seeing the potential, he knew he would return after college to continue working with Mark.
After studying food science and marketing at A&M University, Case returned to Fredericksburg to become Wieser’s business partner and company visionary. Case’s vision helped expand the roadside fruit stand into what people now know as Fischer & Wieser Specialty Foods, Inc.
When Case met Deanna at A&M, he told her he planned to move to Fredericksburg and work in the jelly business. Their relationship flourished, and they ended up marrying. And true to his word, Case returned to Fredericksburg with Deanna, who joined forces and became the CEO.
Fischer & Wieser grew from selling only jelly to a company doing $25 million in annual revenue, creating 95 jobs and a catalog of over 150 products distributed throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada, and beyond.
The early years reflected the humble work of growing a business. Deanna and Case transported thousands of products across Texas for trade shows to get the word out about new products. They visited stores in person to set up their products and teach vendors how to sell their merchandise best, looking for every opportunity to make extra money and increase margins.
From its humble beginnings, growth and hard work transformed the company. They went from selling only jelly to developing an array of new products, working on 7-10 new ideas weekly. The family’s eagerness is palpable as they listen to their customers and brainstorm new products.
Case and Deanna raised three children — Dietz, Elle, and Simon — alongside their growing business. The future looks bright as each has returned after college to enhance the family brand.
Elle, the vice president of retail operations, summed up the company’s success. “Working with family isn’t always a walk in the park, but when we all share the same goals and vision for what Fischer & Wieser can accomplish, there is no one better to work and ultimately share success with than family.”
The oldest son, Dietz, added Dietz Distillery by creating fruit-based spirits with homegrown and locally sourced ingredients. When you visit Fredericksburg, the distillery tour is a must-see.
Dietz is a master of his craft, and it shows as he explains the origins of their signature peach brandy or the detailed process of combining old-world distilling techniques with fresh ideas and ingredients. Dietz, alongside his sister Elle Fischer, created a small artisan spot with unique blends of liqueur and spirits. Their commitment to sourcing fruit only from local Texas orchards is impressive.
Simon brought his love of quality wines and knowledge from Napa Valley to produce rich yet unassuming Texas wines. He set out to prove that Texas can make unbelievable-tasting wines that rival the top Californian wines.
Simon plays to the strengths of what Texas has, and he created incredible varieties. “We’ve always enjoyed pairing wines from around the world with our specialty food products and the recipes we create to showcase them,” says Case D. Fischer in an interview with Specialty Food. “With the amazing growth of Texas as a wine-producing state, it only makes sense we would launch our own collection that pairs best with the many global flavors we enjoy.”
Over one million travelers make the pilgrimage to the Texas Hill Country each year, making it the second-busiest wine tourism destination in the nation, after only Napa. Dozens of new wineries have popped up in recent years. Wine shuttles move visitors out of Fredericksburg along U.S. Route 290 to the many vineyards, wineries, and tasting rooms that dot the region.
Along with a growing product list, Fischer & Wieser offers countless experiences at the farmstead. A cooking school lets locals and tourists enjoy hands-on creating and tasting. Classes range from delicious pastry classes to cooking a four-course meal. Lessons are interactive and full of practical demonstrations. Classes include wines from the Fredericksburg area. As the holidays approach, sign up for their Holiday Farm to Table Class and learn from their professional chef to create delicious French-style dishes.
Case Fischer and his family are always on the lookout for new opportunities. The next venture to look for is a stay in 30-foot Airstream travel trailers parked on their scenic property. Not only can you stay and enjoy the breathtaking landscapes, but you can soak in the slower pace of small-town life at their charming farmstead. When you admire the view of the pond at Fischer and Wieser’s Das Peach Haus, you’ll see why Fredericksburg won the most picturesque small town in America.
While Fischer & Wieser’s story is unique, its success isn’t. Fredericksburg offers a truly unique array of family-run businesses — a rare treat in an age of increasing consolidation and corporatization. It is common to visit a local restaurant where the owners will walk across the property to their home at the end of a long day of work.
The heart and soul of talented entrepreneurs have created wineries, restaurants, shops, bed and breakfasts, and many other distinct attractions that keep tourists coming to a place that feels like home.
This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.