USA – U.S. confectionery, beverage and snacks company, The Hershey Company has completed the sale of the artisanal jerky brand, Krave back to its previous owners, Sonoma Brands, for an undisclosed amount.

Krave was established in 2009 and later emerged as one of the leading jerky brands – elevating the gas station snack with a culinary twist which resulted in the brand’s acquisition by The Hershey Company in 2015 for US$218.7 million.

Krave has continued to stand out in the protein category with innovative products and flavors offering a diverse portfolio of protein snacks that currently features a roster of Krave Meat Cuts, Krave Pork Rinds and Krave Plant-Based Jerky, the brand’s most recent launch.

The private equity investor and incubator led by Sonoma-based Jon Sebastiani, who is also the founder and creative force behind the brand, said that with the acquisition, innovation for the brand is expected to be further catapulted.

“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,” commented 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, Kraveis in a great spot to come back home to Sonoma where we can continue the brand’s fantastic momentum as a category leader.”

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, Smashgummy and Peckish.

As a private equity investor, Sonoma Brands has also made strategic investments to-date in high-growth consumer brands including in Christina Tosi’s acclaimed Milk Bar, Hum Nutrition vitamins and supplements.

The company has also invested in 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.