SONOMA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sonoma Brands, an emerging brands private equity investor and incubator led by Sonoma-based Jon Sebastiani, who is also the founder and creative force behind the acclaimed artisanal jerky brand KRAVE, announces today the completed acquisition of KRAVE from The Hershey Company for an undisclosed amount.
KRAVE rose to an immediate cult-following from their inception in 2009 by leading the jerky renaissance and elevating the gas station snack with a culinary twist, resulting in the brand’s acquisition by The Hershey Company in 2015. KRAVE has continued to stand out in the protein category with innovative products and flavors. The diverse portfolio of protein snacks currently features a roster of KRAVE Meat Cuts, KRAVE Pork Rinds and KRAVE Plant-Based Jerky, the brand’s most recent launch. With KRAVE’s homecoming, back under Sebastiani’s guidance, innovation for the brand is expected to be further catapulted.
Sebastiani began his career in the family wine business, where he cultivated a deeply rooted connection to the abundant region of Sonoma. Following the tremendously successful sale of KRAVE, Sebastiani embarked on his next entrepreneurial endeavor to form Sonoma Brands. Sebastiani's commitment to lead the Sonoma region into further prominence as a hub for food entrepreneurship, has been evident in his development of successful brands including: SMASHMALLOW premium snackable marshmallows, SMASHGUMMY low-sugar gummies and PECKISH perfectly boiled eggs. As a private equity investor, Sonoma Brands has also made strategic investments to-date in high-growth consumer brands including: Christina Tosi’s acclaimed Milk Bar, Hum Nutrition vitamins and supplements, Beekeeper’s Naturals health solutions, Hu Products plant-based chocolate, Guayaki yerba mate, Versed cruelty free skincare, True Botanicals non-toxic personal care and more.
“KRAVE is a great brand with a loyal fanbase who appreciate its innovative gourmet flavors and culinary roots tracing back to its origins in Sonoma, Calif.,” said Hector de la Barreda, President, Amplify Snack Brands, The Hershey Company. “We look forward to its success with a different go-to-market model under the guidance of founder Jon Sebastiani.”
“I have always had a great relationship with The Hershey Company and watched them grow KRAVE,” said Jon Sebastiani, Founder and Managing Partner of Sonoma Brands. “From expanding KRAVE’s product offerings to dipping into the plant-based category and increasing worldwide distribution, KRAVE is in a great spot to come back home to Sonoma where we can continue the brand's fantastic momentum as a category leader.”
Founded in 2009, KRAVE Pure Foods, Inc. is a leading producer of gourmet meat, poultry and now plant-based protein snacks. KRAVE represents a protein renaissance — from the brand’s original Gourmet Cuts, to the new Plant-Based Jerky and Pork Rinds, each KRAVE snack is made using high-quality ingredients and a proprietary process that yields the superior texture KRAVE is known for. Ranging from sweet and tangy to savory and spicy, each culinary-inspired KRAVE flavor profile appeals to everyday meatlovers and to the discerning palates of today’s food-savvy gourmands. For more information on KRAVE, please visit www.kravejerky.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 promising, creative and disruptive 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.