SONOMA, Calif.- Sonoma Brands, a private equity investor and incubator focused on emerging consumer brands led by Sonoma-based Jon Sebastiani, who is also the founder and creative force behind the acclaimed premium jerky brand KRAVE, announces today the completed acquisition of Chef’s Cut Real Jerky Co.™ for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition, led by Sonoma Brands Managing Director Kevin Murphy, follows Sonoma Brands’ acquisition of KRAVE from The Hershey Company in June 2020, thus joining two chef-crafted, premium jerky brands to create a powerhouse portfolio of brands within the meat snacking space.
Chef’s Cut was founded in 2009 with a mission to create the best tasting, highest quality real jerky on the market. The brand has built a roster of products including jerky, meat sticks and biltong that are made with the finest real ingredients and premium cuts of steak. Under Sebastiani’s leadership, Chef’s Cut will continue to develop alongside KRAVE as part of a portfolio brands in the premium meat snacking space.
“Jon is a true brand builder who has been at the forefront of this category for years and we are excited to have Chef’s Cut join Sonoma Brands for this next chapter,” said Bart Adlam, formerly CEO of Chef’s Cut.
Sebastiani founded KRAVE with the inspiration to elevate the jerky snacking experience beyond a gas station staple, thus sparking the jerky renaissance, which culminated in the brand’s acquisition by The Hershey Company in 2015. Following the incredibly successful sale of KRAVE, Sebastiani began his next chapter in forming Sonoma Brands, which has both developed and incubated brands in the food and beverage space, such as SMASHMALLOW premium snackable marshmallows, as well as made strategic investments in high growth consumer brands including Christina Tosi’s acclaimed Milk Bar, Hum Nutrition vitamins and supplements, Beekeeper’s Naturals health solutions and more. Under the Sonoma Brands umbrella, the new portfolio of brands is well positioned to lead the meat snacks category to new heights.
“Our goal is to reenergize the premium segment of the meat snacks category,” said Kevin Murphy, Managing Director of Sonoma Brands, who will be leading the combined entity as interim CEO. “Through a focus on product quality and innovation supported by impactful marketing and a thoughtful promotional strategy, we are committed to driving incremental growth for our retail partners while delivering a great product and experience to consumers.”
“We see tremendous opportunity for continued growth in meat snacking and feel fortunate to lead a second wave of the jerky renaissance with both KRAVE and Chef’s Cut at the helm,” said Rusti Porter, Chief Marketing Officer of KRAVE. “It is our belief that Chef’s Cut and KRAVE are complementary brands that engage with different consumers, both the traditional jerky shopper as well as the health and fitness-minded millennial who seeks artisanal flavors and quality ingredients. We are thrilled to grow both brands in tandem here in Sonoma to continue the story we started in 2009 with the launch of KRAVE.”
About Chef’s Cut
Since its founding in 2009, Chef’s Cut has evolved into the leading premium meat snack brand of choice by consumers. Chef’s Cut Real Jerky Co.™’s premium cuts, exceptional flavors, and softer texture offer a superior taste experience. Their current product line includes jerky, meat sticks, and biltong. For more information on Chef’s Cut and their range of products, please visit www.chefscutrealjerky.com.
About Sonoma Brands
Founded in 2016, Sonoma Brands is a specialist growth equity firm exclusively dedicated to disruptive, high-growth consumer brands. Inspired by the heritage of California’s wine country, Sonoma Brands is committed to authenticity, quality and innovation. Led by Jon Sebastiani, founder of artisanal jerky brand, KRAVE Jerky, Sonoma Brands seeks to further CPG entrepreneurship by developing, launching and supporting disruptive emerging brands. For more information on Sonoma Brands, please visit www.sonomabrands.com.
About Jon Sebastiani
Jon Sebastiani is the founder of artisanal jerky brand, KRAVE, and leader of the jerky renaissance, leading KRAVE to their successful acquisition by The Hershey Company. His expertise in the field has been cultivated through various business pursuits, including his background in operations and previous positions as managing partner of Wine.com and President of the premier California winery destination, Viansa Winery. He is a graduate of Santa Clara University with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and holds a dual MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and Columbia University.