Wickles Pickles, one of Alabama’s most iconic food brands, is moving to a new home.

But don’t worry. It’s not leaving the Yellowhammer State.

Founded in Dadeville in 1998, Wickles is headed up U.S. 280 to the Magic City following its sale in late November to a Birmingham-based investment firm, Fenwick Food Group. Terms are not disclosed.

Fenwick provides capital and guidance to localized food companies seeking to expand, according to a news release. Its portfolio includes Moore’s Marinades and Sauces, which originated in Jasper.

Once relocated, Wickles will be headquarted atshare a headquarters with Moore’s in Birmingham’s Five Points South neighborhood, the release said.

Wickles’ signature flavor comes from a distinct brine that includes red wine vinegar, cane sugar, red chiles, and natural color from turmeric, co-founder Trey Sims – who founded the company with his brother, Will, and a friend, Anthony Anderson – says in a 2021 interview.

In addition to the original thick-sliced cucumber rounds, Wickle also pickles thinner-sliced sandwich chips, “hula” pickles made with pineapple and jalapeno, okra, garlic, relish, and a spicy sandwich spread.

Wickles also produces a Dirty Dill series – baby pickles, chips, cornichons, and spears, and okra made in a spicy dill-infused brine.

The pickles have been made commercially for more than three decades, but their origin dates to a Depression-era family recipe. Two generations later, Dana Ferniany started using her grandmother’s recipe to make those sweet and hot pickles for kin and to give as gifts. She coined the name Wickles, a mashup of wickedly delicious.

But her homemade Wickles grew so popular, she couldn’t keep up with the requests. The Sims brothers, her cousins, proposed taking the wickedly delicious pickles commercial, and Ferniany agreed.

The company started small. In a typical week, the trio would make roughly 80 cases over three days, and then hit the road in a pickup truck to sell Wickles to gourmet groceries, resort areas, vacation spots including at Lake Martin, and beach towns along Florida’s panhandle.

Wickles took off after a popular Birmingham grocery chain (Bruno’s; now defunct) started carrying the pickles. An endorsement from television cooking personality Rachel Ray exposed the brand to a national audience. By 2021, the company had grown to producing roughly 1 million cases a year.

The sale will allow Wickles to keep expanding its markets, both parties say. “Fenwick is the perfect partner to accelerate the brand’s growth trajectory while preserving its identity and operating roots,” Will Sims says in the news release. “We’re excited to see Wickles get the resources and investment it deserves to scale.”

Fenwick, owned by Melissa Baker and Benny N. LaRussa, Jr., saw Wickles as a complement to its Moore’s product line.

“Will, Trey and Andy have built an incredible brand with impressive momentum,” Baker, president and CEO of Fenwick Food Group, says in the news release. “Two Alabama-based consumer brands coming together is special in the broader consumer packaged goods industry and made the investment more relational than transactional.”

Long-term, Fenwick wants to find other food brands like Wickles and Moore’s that would benefit from more streamlined operations and investment. “Scale is becoming increasingly more difficult and expensive and we want to help similar brands with strong consumer demand stay around,” Baker says.


Cover Image by Lisa Jones Photography