At last week’s U.S. PGA Tour event along the Georgia coast, players were treated to a Southern lunch of fried chicken, black-eyed peas and collard greens at Sea Island Resort.
Once on the course, players were able to snack on Kingmade beef jerky from Jeff King, a professional caddie who is trying to make a high-end snack food business out of $175,000 in seed money, his personal recipe and its popularity among top pro golfers including Tiger Woods.
“I’m making sure everybody gets some,” Davis Love III, the tournament host and 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup captain, said in an interview. “The stuff is getting more and more popular out here.”
King, who has caddied on the PGA and women’s LPGA tours since 1998, created a loyal customer base for his gourmet beef jerky among golf’s best players. His Kingmade Jerky, which sells for as much as $54 a pound, was introduced in the U.S. four months ago and has been gaining popularity as the $2 billion a year packaged-meat-snacks market is experiencing a 10 percent boost in annual sales. It’s a simple coincidence, he said.
“Total pot luck,” said King, 40, who became a caddie after working as a teaching pro in Florida. “What are the chances?”
Kingmade Jerky hit store shelves July 26 with a tag line boasting of its “superior sustenance for active sophisticates.” While it’s mostly distributed in golf shops and out of the trunk of King’s car, his jerky is also sold in about 400 U.S. locations, including Austin, Texas-based health food Central Market stores.