Beef jerky and meat snacks manufacturer Lone Star Western Beef Inc. announced in late March it was relocating from West Virginia to a 9,000-square-foot facility in Greater Reading, Pennsylvania.
Food Manufacturing recently had the opportunity to conduct a Q&A with Lone Star Western Beef Vice President J.P. Bachman via email regarding the move, the company and more.
Q: Let's touch on the history of Lone Star Western Beef Inc. When was the company founded? What products do you produce? How has the company grown since its inception?
A: Lone Star Western Beef Inc. was founded in 1996 by John Bachman and originally operated with two incomparably dedicated employees. Lone Star produces a full line of meat snacks, including, beef jerky in five flavors — Original, Hot Teriyaki, Sweet & Spicy Garlic, Black Pepper and Jalapeno — and beef sticks in two flavors, Mild and Spicy. We have grown substantially since our inception. In 1996 we had two employees who, working side-by-side with the owner, produced all of Lone Star's products by hand and smoking with a small two-truck smokehouse. Today, we have 17 total employees and, although much of our process still requires hand crafting, we have automated our packaging and increased our smoking capabilities from two trucks to twelve trucks.
Q: What makes Lone Star Western Beef's jerky unique?
A: Lone Star's beef jerky is unique because we produce the highest quality beef jerky, with the best ingredients, without the use of chemicals at a price everyone can afford.
Q: The company announced in March that it was relocating to Pennsylvania from West Virginia. What were the various factors that led to that decision, and how do you feel the move benefits the company?
A: A few of the factors in our decision to relocate to Reading, Pa., were reasonably priced real estate, access to a large portion of the U.S. population, and a large and diverse workforce. We feel these factors will benefit Lone Star Western Beef by enabling us to keep our operating costs low and give us access to one of the most forward-thinking and diverse markets in the country.
Q: Beef jerky/meat snacks is a segment of the food market that has experienced significant growth in recent years. What type of growth has Lone Star experienced? How much has production increased in recent years as consumer demand for jerky/meat snacks has increased?
A: Lone Star has seen significant growth over the last few years but hasn't realized our full growth potential due to lack of capacity in our old facility. That being said, we have seven times greater capacity at our new facility and look forward to capitalizing on the continued growth in the meat snack segment.