by Jessica Waytenick •

Boetje's Dutch Style Stone Ground Mustard from the Quad Cities has received a gold medal in the World Wide Mustard Competition in 2008.  Boetje's was awarded gold in the "coarse grained" category of the 15th annual Napa Valley Mustard Festival.  It even beat out the vaunted Grey Poupon brand, which took silver.


The contest—in the heart of California wine country—attracted more than 400 mustards from seven countries, judged in 19 categories by food journalists and chefs from across the country.  This was Boetje's first entry to the Napa Valley festival.


Boetje's (pronounced "boat-chee") Mustard is made in Rock Island, Illinois.  Founded in 1889 by German immigrant Fred Boetje, the company was sold by the Boetje family in 1960 to Will Kropp.  Today, Boetje's staff includes two full-time employees and two part-time workers who come in on production days.


"I hope people of the Quad Cities realize there's a national treasure there in the mustard world," Barry Levenson, festival coordinator and curator of the Mount Horeb Mustard Museum near Madison, Wisconsin, said of Boetje's.


As if he were talking about a complex wine, Mr. Levenson described the local mustard thusly: "It has just a delightful mouth feel.  It is able to capture all the flavor of the mustard seed," he said.  "It's extremely well-balanced, has a good nose hit, and a satisfying finish.”  


"It has just a little bit of sweetness," Mr. Levenson said of the spicy brown mustard, which does use sugar in its Old World recipe.  "It's well-rounded.  It has a definite cult following all over the country.  We send it out to a lot of people on the West Coast."


The Mustard Museum has sold Boetje's on site and in its catalog for 10 years, one of 4,900 varieties it carries.


Using the same recipe today, it uses 1,000 pounds of Canadian mustard seeds per batch, and each Friday the brown seeds are split and combined in an oak-wood vat with water, sugar, salt, and distilled vinegar.  On Monday, the mixture is sent through a high-speed stone grinder, which takes about six hours, Mr. Kropp said.  The mustard is stored overnight in stainless-steel tanks and on Tuesday is pumped into 8.5-ounce jars and packaged.


Boetje's has long had a strong regional following.  The majority of business is large-chain grocery stores with about 30 percent independent stores and restaurants.  It produces about 36,000 jars a month, twice that in the summer.  It is the exclusive mustard for the John Deere Classic PGA Tournament held in the Quad Cities in July.


Boetje's, 2736 12th St., Rock Island, Illinois, does offer free, guided production tours for individuals and groups.  Please call in advance for tours at 309-788-4352.  For more information, their website is  You can order Boetje's Mustard online at


For more famous products locally-made in the Quad Cities, visit


Media Contact: Will Kropp, Boetje's General Manager, 309-788-4352


Marvels on the MississippiToday's Events
View Full Event Calendar » View Full Event Calendar »