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. first.parentNode.insertBefore(script, first); Founded by Justin "Duke" Havlick and his homemade recipes. "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. “Yup,” he says, “it’s me! 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). 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. 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. Their brands include Duke's Smoked Shorty Sausages and Bigs Sunflower Seeds. Encore Consumer Capital, a private equity firm that invests exclusively in leading consumer products companies, has completed the sale of Thanasi Foods, marketer of the Duke’s® and BIGS® snack brands, to Conagra Brands, one of North America’s leading branded food companies. In this sense, it’s very modern, with a bay of devices on the wall registering the humidity and heat of each cook cycle, recording it with electronically activated pens on paper disks. The roots go deep with Duke \u0019s Smoked Meats. Havlick makes no bones about it. Havlick purchased a … “It was one of my favorite memories growing up,” he says. Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential. Justin started making his own jerky on his backyard smoker. From our standpoint, it’s a great cultural movement that’s happening within jerky. U. p until 2007 or so, the jerky and snack meat market was mostly shared between four major players. if(document.getElementById('commitchange-script')) return; The companies were formed over a one year period with the most recent being incorporated four years ago in May of 2016. Justin ‘Duke’ Havlick of Duke’s Jerky. 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. script.id = 'commitchange-script'; })(); '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. The meat is carefully cut, almost filleted, to tear away in strips, unlike the clumsy chunks of food-service jerky typically available at gas stations. We’re offered a little craft sausage and give it a try. Justin "Duke" Havlick CEO & Founder at Thanasi Foods Becky Brown. JUSTIN “DUKE” HAVLICK. “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. Lifelong Michiganders may not give it much thought, but jerky is kinda huge in our state. We have to ask, was our state’s beef jerky identity really potent enough to merit locating here? The company was acquired by Conagra Brands in 2017. “People might say, ‘You’re crazy! 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. If entrepreneurs like Havlick have their way, ever-tastier things certainly await us all. Havlick isn’t giving us some rehearsed marketing ploy. Variety Is The Spice Of Life! “There’s a craft component here that we choose not to deviate from,” Havlick says. Becky Brown Senior Accountant at Thanasi Foods Robin Carter. 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. Duke’s promises fresher cuts of meat; real, whole ingredients; inventive, unexpected flavor combinations; and a small batch commitment to quality. 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 was founded in 2004 by Justin "Duke" Havlick. “It’s one of my favorite smells. 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. This special memory sparked a … 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. 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. View Justin "Duke" Havlick’s profile on LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional community. [1] The company was acquired by Conagra Brands in 2017. 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. Letters may be edited and shortened for space. 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Justin "Duke" has 3 jobs listed on their profile. Thanasi Foods's primary competitors are Cattaneo Bros, Golden Valley Natural & Old Trapper. Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free. April 22, 2014 var npo = 5487; We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Along the way, they’d stop at a jerky stand in a canyon, where the young Havlick would go hog wild. 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. The air is infused with the woodsy aroma of a guttering hardwood campfire. Moving into the Macomb County neighborhood is Justin Havlick of Colorado-based Duke's Smoked Meats. Justin Havlick Overview Justin Havlick has been associated with two companies, according to public records. Best Beef Jerky Reviews – Duke’s Meats. 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 … We’re seeing this even in some of the urban environments, where people are buying dehydrators and making jerky at home. 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. script.src = 'https://us.commitchange.com/js/donate-button.v2.js'; Havlick gets animated talking about smoking, so we head to the smokehouse. So, the difference is exactly that, it’s the craft of smoking it batch by batch, where we can circulate the right amount of smoke, the right amount of heat and humidity across the entire rack of jerky, just like you would like to in a small-batch process.”, Havlick gets animated talking about smoking, so we head to the smokehouse. 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. Food & Drink. Any trip “up North” will prove that Michigan abounds with small-town general stores and roadside stands that have a heaping helping of jerky for sale, made of not just beef but venison, elk, turkey and much more. Any trip “up North” will prove that Michigan abounds with small-town general stores and roadside stands that have a heaping helping of jerky for sale, made of not just beef but venison, elk, turkey and much more. Now, across the … It’s great to be surrounded by the culture of making great smoked meats.”. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Summary: Justin Havlick's birthday is 11/14/1972 and is 48 years old. Weirder things have happened. “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.,” said Justin “Duke” Havlick, founder and CEO of Duke’s and Bigs. View Justin Havlick's profile for company associations, background information, and partnerships. Zero of the companies are still … The proof, after all, is in the pudding. 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. 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. “Over time, people started to ask for more and more of the product, and I started the process of distribution in a small way, store by store, until it grew to the level it’s at today.”. 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. Website powered by Foundation. We slice each whole brisket steak against the grain, marinate the slices overnight, and then slow-smoke each batch for a rich flavor and tenderness you can't get from sugary shortcuts. var script = document.createElement('script'); Thanasi Foods will continue to be led by Justin Havlick and the existing leadership team of Thanasi … Justin \u001CDuke \u001D Havlick grew up associating beef jerky with his adventures in the outdoors. His love of smoked meats really kicked into high gear when a neighbor gave him an old backyard smoker. It chews a little tough at first, then gives way to a light, almost crumbly consistency that’s free of the fatty emulsions and greasy mouth-feel of shrink-wrapped meat product. It offers a satisfying snap, and tears away reluctantly. © 2021 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. Thanasi Foods is a manufacturer and distributor of packaged snack foods. We don hairnets and sterile garments and cross the threshold when the smell hits us. Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond. He invited us to come by and visit the plant, and excitedly gave us the lowdown on why Michigan made sense. My hands are in the recipes every day.”. At Duke's, we don't sugarcoat the truth or our meats. 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 … We ask him if that’s sort of like a vaporizer. Robert Brown, managing director of Encore Consumer Capital, said, “Thanasi Foods’ founder and CEO Justin ‘Duke’ Havlick decided to bring on … He said he started the company 13 years ago because he had a passion for fire roasting seeds and slow cooking meats. As Havlick puts it, “The natural food segment is growing and growing back in Colorado. The Coloradan grew up loving jerky, and recalls visits to his father’s cabin in the hills outside Boulder. The head of a snack-food company based in Colorado has purchased a Hawaii estate, Pacific Business News has learned. Justin "Duke" Havlick. Smoking is my favorite segment of the process, and probably the most interesting,” Havlick says. 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’s eyes light up. Thanasi Foods's Co-Founder & CEO, Justin Havlick, currently has an approval rating of 70%. His friends loved it, especially the flavors produced by the marinades Duke used. (He’s from Colorado, right?) Could Michigan go from being known as the home of some of the world’s largest industrial corporations to a grand bastion of craft food and drink culture? So how do you make craft, small-batch jerky in a factory? To all appearances, he just thinks our state has a great meat culture and is proud to have it produced here. Thanasi was founded in 2004 by Justin "Duke" Havlick. Social Media: FaceBook/DukesMeats – Twitter/DukesMeats – Instagram/DukesMeats – Pinterest/DukesMeats. 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. Of course, these “small” batches can run as much as 250 pounds, but each batch is loaded onto racks and placed in an individual oven as big as a tool shed, where it’s monitored individually for temperature and moisture content. Havlick also shows us the drying room, where perhaps several days’ worth of batches of miniature sausages are drying in a state-of-the-art room that controls airflow and temperature. It reminds me of south Texas a bit in the diversity of all the different flavor profiles, the types and styles of jerky that you see here in Michigan, which is part of the reason we love being here. All parts of this site Copyright © 2021 Detroit Metro Times. Retail Locations: Store Locator by State. “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. 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. Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community. Duke’s Meats. And he hasn’t mentioned taxes, work rules or any of the buzzwords businessmen are supposed to be obsessed with. Don hairnets and sterile garments and cross the threshold when the smell hits us Foods Robin Carter 2004... We head to the smokehouse facility is much smaller than most large processors Havlick go. “ Yup, ” Havlick says 's, we do n't sugarcoat the truth or our meats churning... 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