The Work We Do: Randy Kopke, Backyard Brine

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My name is Randy Kopke. I’m the co-owner of Backyard Brine with my wife Cori. We’re in beautiful Cutchogue on the North Fork.

We started our business in 2013.

Before that, it was a hobby. We did wedding favors for my brother-in-law’s wedding in Montauk. People started ordering pickles. I was like, ‘Oh, well we’re not really a pickle company. I lay tile. And brick.’

Not even a year later, we became a business. [Cori and I] didn’t come from the food industry at all. We had to learn it all. We launched into about 50 retail locations our first year.

I’ve taken a step back into the production facility. The day before, I set up the production for the following day. We get here, I’ll start making a brine batch. I’ll set the crew up prepping all of the ingredients. They all know their routine. We run it military style, we get a lot of jars done in a shift.

Our number one seller is our “Dill Death Do Us Part.”

We do jalapeño dills, we do a habanero garlic pickle, we have a line of smoked pickles.

The proceeds from our everything bread and butters go to a foundation for our niece, Addison, who has Moebius syndrome. It’s a rare neurological disorder.

We are not open to the public. We strictly only do wholesale to retailers and restaurants. We’re in stores such as Whole Foods, IGA, King Kullen and lots of small independent stores.

It was never a dream of mine to open a pickle company. We always wanted to do a spread of gourmet foods. Specialty condiments and things like that, which now we’re starting to break into finally.

So we’re launching our barbecue sauce line this year, some gourmet mustards and some other things I can’t mention yet. Cori and I, we want to keep rolling and see how far we can take this.

The best part is the people we’ve met in the industry, a lot of the really really good chefs we work with.

That’s pretty awesome, to be a part of that.

And all of our awesome customers that are eating tens and tens of thousands of jar of pickles every few months, thank you.

“The Work We Do” is a Suffolk Times multimedia project profiling workers on the North Fork made possible by Peconic Landing.”