“Heritage” Jerky Co. Country Archer Raises $5 Million

Jeff Klineman

Add Country Archer to the list of jerky companies hoping to hit it big.

The all-natural, vertically-integrated jerky company closed on a $5 million funding round shortly before Expo West and is now trying to push East from its California base.

The minority investment came from Monogram Capital Partners.

CountryArcher_970Until 2011, when family business owners Eugene and Susan Kang bought the company, Country Archer had long been a private-label jerky maker for regional convenience stores in the inland empire. Impressed with the quality of store brands they’d tried, and recognizing the need for upgrades in the category, they tracked down the owner and convinced him to sell them the brand, recipes and manufacturing facility, and re-labeled it to emphasize the company’s past.

It has produced jerky since 1977, Eugene Kang said, a history that he believes will be an advantage in a category that has already seen the sale of Krave to Hershey and has competition from a number of startup brands brands, including Chef’s Cut, Three Jerks, Duke’s and more.

“He’d been making clean product before it was a trend,” Eugene Kang said of the former owner, Charlie Mirachi. “We’re different because we’re a heritage brand, we’re vertically integrated, and we make all of our product by hand.”

The company debuted a line of meat-based protein bars at Expo West, and has recently launched a grass-fed jerky line as well. It has national distribution in Sprouts and Kroger, and is sold regionally in many other supermarkets as well. Bags of jerky come with an MSRP of $5.99 to $6.99. Sales have been doubling for the past three years, Kang said.

“We feel like we can be the crossover brand from natural to mass retail,” Kang said.

A release from Country Archer and Monogram Capital Partners is below:

SAN BERNARDINO, CA—(BUSINESS WIRE): Country Archer Jerky Co., one of the fastest growing brands in the premium beef jerky category, announced a minority growth investment by Monogram Capital Partners, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm focused on consumer and retail investments. The Monogram investment will enable Country Archer to accelerate nationwide distribution, expand its product offerings, and build upon its already strong consumer awareness and advocacy.

Founded by Eugene Kang and Susan Kang in 2011, Country Archer is known for its better-for-you ingredient deck and innovative and appealing flavors. “After surveying the category extensively, we determined that Country Archer’s product was uniquely differentiated. In addition to being one of the few self-manufactured brands on the market, and achieving the quality and supply chain controls that comes with that, Country Archer highlights an ingredient driven process that emphasizes grass fed beef and organic seasonings. We are extremely excited to partner with Eugene and Susan on this next phase of rapid growth,” says Monogram Co-Founder Jared Stein.

Over the past few years, the Company has been growing rapidly, roughly doubling its sales annually and expanding into new points of distribution nationwide.

“We view Country Archer’s category leading growth metrics in both the natural and conventional channels as a sign of the customer identifying and enjoying a high quality product that has widespread, crossover appeal,” says Monogram Co-Founder Oliver Nordlinger.

With significant innovation in its product lines (including the recent launch of its grass-fed line and the forthcoming launch of its meat-based protein bar) and continued introduction of exciting new flavors, Country Archer is quickly becoming a tastemaker in the category.

“As Founders, Eugene and Susan exhibit a special combination of great vision and the manufacturing capability to produce an expanding portfolio of great products under the Country Archer brand,” adds Greg Willsey, a Partner at Monogram who joined the firm after most recently serving as COO and CFO of POM Wonderful.

“In Monogram we saw a value-added partner who could help us execute on our vision and take Country Archer to the next level. Susan and I are extremely proud of the company we have built and believe strongly that this partnership will help us reach our full potential,” commented Country Archer Founder Eugene Kang.

About Country Archer Jerky Co.: Headquartered in San Bernardino, CA, Country Archer has a rich thirty year heritage as a premium jerky manufacturer. Founders Eugene and Susan Kang purchased the business in 2011 to bring this high quality product to the masses. Country Archer manufactures its own line of artisanal jerky products using grass-fed proteins and organic ingredients and absolutely no artificial preservatives. The company focuses on developing original flavors with widespread appeal, such as Sriracha, Sweet Jalapeno, and Hickory Smoke.

About Monogram Capital Partners: Headquartered in Los Angeles, CA and founded in 2014, Monogram Capital focuses exclusively on investing in emerging consumer and retail brands through both minority growth and control transactions. The firm looks for opportunities to partner with founders and strong management teams, investing $5-30million per transaction. Country Archer represents the firm’s fourth platform investment in two years.

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