He compares the rise of Michigan’s craft food scene to the rise of the state’s beer culture, and sees it as all part of meeting a growing demand for food that’s made the old-fashioned way, in small batches, with natural ingredients. Products distributed by Thanasi Foods are available in approximately 45,000 supermarkets, convenience stores, grocery stores, and drug stores in the United States and Canada. Justin Havlick currently lives in Kilauea, HI; in the past Justin has also lived in Boulder CO. Other names that Justin uses includes Justin Thomas Havlick and Justin T Havlick. The roots go deep with Duke \u0019s Smoked Meats. Among those visitors who’ve taken a shine to Michigan’s protean protein scene is Justin Havlick, founder and CEO of Duke’s Small Batch Smoked Meats. Thanasi Foods is a manufacturer and distributor of packaged snack foods. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free. The air is infused with the woodsy aroma of a guttering hardwood campfire. Variety Is The Spice Of Life! “Michigan is a big place for a variety of smoked meats and jerky products, with a lot of manufacturers out here. Justin \u001CDuke \u001D Havlick grew up associating beef jerky with his adventures in the outdoors. Duke’s promises fresher cuts of meat; real, whole ingredients; inventive, unexpected flavor combinations; and a small batch commitment to quality. Justin "Duke" Havlick. Duke’s Smoked Meats was founded in 2013 by Justin Havlick, a man whose brother once called “the Duke of Jerky.” Today, the brand has become a beloved favorite in the smoked meats category. “Big time,” he says. "What started 13 years ago as a simple passion for fire roasting seeds and slow smoking meats, has grown into two terrific brands that are recognized in households across the U.S.,” shared Justin "Duke" Havlick, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Duke's and BIGS. All parts of this site Copyright © 2021 Detroit Metro Times. Website powered by Foundation. Moving into the Macomb County neighborhood is Justin Havlick of Colorado-based Duke's Smoked Meats. Social Media: FaceBook/DukesMeats – Twitter/DukesMeats – Instagram/DukesMeats – Pinterest/DukesMeats. He pauses a second, smiles knowingly and agrees with our comparison, all but winking. In fact, it’s fair to say the state has a vigorous and creative smoked meat culture, from the jerky selection up at the Dublin General Store down to the smokehouses of classic Detroit barbecues. script.setAttribute('data-npo-id', npo); “We feel that there is a genuine-ness to actually doing it the backwoods way, if you will, which is delivering an actual smoke process to the meats in real time.”. He invited us to come by and visit the plant, and excitedly gave us the lowdown on why Michigan made sense. A lot of the smaller, boutique places are making some great stuff. Havlick purchased a … The proof, after all, is in the pudding. })(); 'Esquire' names three metro Detroit spots on list of '100 restaurants America can't afford to lose', Supino Pizzeria's New Center location is almost ready to open, Heated 'luminarias' will bring wintertime outdoor dining to Southwest Detroit restaurants. Thanasi Foods to be acquired by Conagra Brands By Jensen Werley — March 17, 2017 var npo = 5487; Thanasi was founded in 2004 by Justin "Duke" Havlick. In fact, it’s fair to say the state has a vigorous and creative smoked meat culture, from the jerky selection up at the Dublin General Store down to the smokehouses of classic Detroit barbecues. Thanasi Foods's primary competitors are Cattaneo Bros, Golden Valley Natural & Old Trapper. Why did Duke's want to be acquired? The companies were formed over a one year period with the most recent being incorporated four years ago in May of 2016. Well, perhaps the term “factory” is misleading. We’re seeing more and more people who want to make jerky at home again, working on new artisanal recipes and different ways of jerking different types of meat, like turkey or pork, venison and other games too. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Justin "Duke" Havlick, Duke's and BIGS founder and chief executive officer, said, "What started 13 years ago as a simple passion for fire roasting seeds and slow smoking meats, has grown into two terrific brands that are recognized in households across the U.S. The Coloradan grew up loving jerky, and recalls visits to his father’s cabin in the hills outside Boulder. In 2004, Justin “Duke” Havlick fired up his backyard smoker and started crafting small batches of jerky the old-fashioned way—high-quality meats marinated with sauces from his pantry, slow-smoked and hand cut. © 2021 “Hopping out of the car, running across the street and rummaging through the different types of jerkies and asking 1,001 questions on how you make jerky properly, whether it was elk, buffalo, venison or beef jerky.”, In 2004, he started smoking jerky in his backyard smoker and sharing it with friends. Thanasi Foods's Co-Founder & CEO, Justin Havlick, currently has an approval rating of 70%. Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox. Havlick gets animated talking about smoking, so we head to the smokehouse. We ask him if that’s sort of like a vaporizer. If entrepreneurs like Havlick have their way, ever-tastier things certainly await us all. You can automate it and you can make more margin.’ But at the end of the day, we’re interested in making a fair margin, but producing an outstanding product. It’s pretty cool.”. Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us Their brands include Duke's Smoked Shorty Sausages and Bigs Sunflower Seeds. No attachments will be considered. Their brands include Duke's Smoked Shorty Sausages and Bigs Sunflower Seeds. script.id = 'commitchange-script'; The company was acquired by Conagra Brands in 2017. Along the way, they’d stop at a jerky stand in a canyon, where the young Havlick would go hog wild. “It was one of my favorite memories growing up,” he says. var script = document.createElement('script'); It’s a fun visit, and Havlick is a fast-talking, excited, almost breathless host, delighted to talk up the products he’s obviously proud of. The smoke from the chips goes through a process that filters out the undesirable volatile substances. [2][3][4], Founder of beef jerky empire buys Hawaii estate, Conagra Brands Completes Acquisition Of Thanasi, Why Conagra Is Buying Duke’s Meat Snacks, Thanasi Founder Talks Conagra Acquisition, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Thanasi_Foods&oldid=972044211, Food and drink companies based in Colorado, Food and drink companies established in 2004, Snack food manufacturers of the United States, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 9 August 2020, at 21:20. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. His love of smoked meats really kicked into high gear when a neighbor gave him an old backyard smoker. "This is an incredibly exciting time for our brands and our team, and we are looking forward to working with the Conagra Brands team on the next chapter in our journey to take Duke's and BIGS to another level," said Justin "Duke" Havlick, Duke's and BIGS founder and chief executive officer. It offers a satisfying snap, and tears away reluctantly. Meanwhile, Boulder, Colo.-based Thanasi Foods' popular Duke's "Shorty" Smoked Sausages "are full of lean protein due to the natural smoking and drying process, which allows for lower density of fat and higher density of protein," notes Justin "Duke" Havlick, the company's president, of … That’s a far cry from wet meat going in one end of a mammoth machine and being spit out the other side as an industrial food product. Justin "Duke" Havlick, Duke's and BIGS founder and chief executive officer, said, "What started 13 years ago as a simple passion for fire roasting … Havlick was so taken with the state’s identification with craft-cured meat, he chose Macomb Township as the site of his small-batch factory three years ago. When we arrive at the plant, where more than 50 employees perform the labor-intensive process of small-batch smoking, we’re pleasantly surprised to see that he is, in fact, the guy on the package, ball cap, work shirt and all. Weirder things have happened. Founded by Justin "Duke" Havlick, Thanasi Foods is one of the top 10 food companies that industry sources identified for The Deal as being likely … Here in the heart of the facility, the “cook cycles” are really four to eight-hour dehydration cycles, typically never exceeding 170 degrees. April 22, 2014 As a kid, Duke was an Eagle Scout who grew up running around the Rocky Mountains searching out roadside jerky stands and exploring Colorado’s back country with his family. Robert Brown, managing director of Encore Consumer Capital, said, “Thanasi Foods’ founder and CEO Justin ‘Duke’ Havlick decided to bring on … Founded in 2003 by Justin “Duke” Havlick, Thanasi is a privately held company with less than $20 million in revenue and sells two products: Duke’s meat snacks and Bigs sunflower and pumpkin seeds. U. p until 2007 or so, the jerky and snack meat market was mostly shared between four major players. Robert Brown, managing director of Encore Consumer Capital, said, “Thanasi Foods’ founder and CEO Justin ‘Duke’ Havlick decided to bring on a strategic and financial partner, and we are honored that he chose Encore to help the company grow. As a young Cub Scout ascending to Eagle Scout and spending time in Colorado \u0019s backcountry, Duke and his father would often enjoy batches of homemade smoked jerky found at roadside jerky stands. Thanasi was founded in 2004 by Justin "Duke" Havlick. Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential. At Duke's, we don't sugarcoat the truth or our meats. Justin Havlick, founder and CEO of Duke’s Meats. Thanasi Foods will continue to be led by Justin Havlick and the existing leadership team of Thanasi … Founded by Justin "Duke" Havlick and his homemade recipes. The head of a snack-food company based in Colorado has purchased a Hawaii estate, Pacific Business News has learned. first.parentNode.insertBefore(script, first); His friends loved it, especially the flavors produced by the marinades Duke used. It’s a long way from a smokehouse in a Colorado canyon, but we can see that the natural principles hold, if the practices are given mechanical precision. Lifelong Michiganders may not give it much thought, but jerky is kinda huge in our state. Food & Drink. Company Founder and President Justin “Duke” Havlick is doing exactly what he loves to do: combining his love of food with his love of the outdoors (he lives in Boulder, CO, after all). “People might say, ‘You’re crazy! Justin started making his own jerky on his backyard smoker. Justin "Duke" Havlick, Duke's and BIGS founder and chief executive officer, said, "What started 13 years ago as a simple passion for fire roasting seeds and slow smoking meats, has grown into two terrific brands that are recognized in households across the U.S. We’re seeing this even in some of the urban environments, where people are buying dehydrators and making jerky at home. Among those visitors who’ve taken a shine to Michigan’s protean protein scene is Justin Havlick, founder and CEO of Duke’s Small Batch Smoked Meats. [1] The company was acquired by Conagra Brands in 2017. To all appearances, he just thinks our state has a great meat culture and is proud to have it produced here. We declare it excellent. View Justin "Duke" Havlick’s profile on LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional community. From our standpoint, it’s a great cultural movement that’s happening within jerky. “Batch by batch, they became more popular as I was playing with recipes and kind of tweaking them, purely from a hobby standpoint,” he says. The buyer is Justin "Duke" Havlick, president and CEO of Boulder-based Thanasi Foods, which sells Frank's Redhot Beef Jerky, Jim Beam Beef Jerky, Stubbs BBQ Beef Jerky, Duke's Smoked Shorty Sausages, Duke's Beef Steak Strips and Bigs Sunflower Seeds. Professional community ever-tastier things certainly await us all to the smokehouse and give it a try FaceBook/DukesMeats... ” Havlick says us to come by and visit the plant, and your support helps keep 's! My favorite memories growing up, ” he says, “ it ’ great... 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