Oberto Sausage Company

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Oberto Snacks Inc.
IndustryFood manufacturing
Founded1918 (1918) in Seattle, Washington
FounderConstantino Oberto
Key people
Tom Hernquist, President & CEO
ProductsBeef jerky, bacon jerky, chicken strips, meat snacks, pork jerky, turkey jerky
BrandsOberto, Lowerey's, Pacific Gold, Cattleman's Cut, Smokecraft

Oberto is an American family-owned business[1] that makes meat snacks including all natural jerky, pepperoni and other smoked meats. The company was founded in 1918 by Constantino Oberto in Seattle, Washington. It is now headquartered in Kent, Washington.[2] The company sells products under the Oberto, Oberto Classics, Lowrey's Meat Snacks, Pacific Gold Beef Jerky and Cattleman's Cut brands.[citation needed]


Constantino Oberto founded the Oberto Sausage Company making and selling hand-made Italian sausage in Seattle, Washington, in 1918. Using Italian family recipes, he began making salami, coppacola and other sausages.[3] On Labor Day 1943, Oberto died leaving his company and its two employees to his family. Art Oberto, Constantino's 16-year-old son, took over the company.[4] He continued to run the company while completing his studies at West Seattle High School, resisting pressure to sell the business.[4][3][5] By 1954, revenue had grown enough to begin construction on a new factory, completed the following year, with the help of a loan from the family of Oberto's new wife, Dorothy Vennetti.[4][6]

Oberto Brands continued to grow through the 1960s with the production of its flagship beef jerky product and introduction of the product at Safeway stores in 1967. Safeway was the first national grocery chain to carry Oberto Brands jerky.[7][8]

In 1990, Laura Oberto joined her father in a leadership role and became the co-chairman of the company. The following year, she took over as president of Oberto Brands.[9] In 1994, Oberto Brands purchased Smoke Craft and Lowrey's meat snacks brands and facilities, both based in Albany, Oregon. The purchase added 200 employees to the company.[10] In 1999, the company entered into a distribution partnership with the Frito-Lay company.[11] In 2002, Oberto Brands purchased the Pacific Sun Industries which produced the Pacific Gold brand.[12][13]

In 2009, after slow sales, Oberto Brands ended the distribution deal with Frito-Lay and began distributing its own products.[14][15] Shortly after the agreement was terminated, Oberto Brands named Tom Ennis CEO and president.[16] The company adjusted the recipes for its flagship jerky products in 2012, removing corn syrup, preservatives, dextrose, and other artificial ingredients.[17]

In 2013, Oberto Brands opened a production and distribution center in Nashville, Tennessee. The factory added over 300 employees to the company's workforce.[18][19] Ennis left the company in 2014 and Thomas Hernquist was named the CEO and president in January, 2015.[20] In January 2016, Oberto announced they were closing the Nashville plant and laying off more than 80 people.[21]

Oberto announced in April 2018 that it was being sold to Premium Brand Holdings.[22]


Oberto Brands' eccentric marketing tactics began with Art Oberto, who frequently drove an Oberto branded Lincoln Town Car, the "jerky mobile" around the Seattle area beginning in the 1950s.[4] The company also sponsored a Hydroplane race boat from 1975 until the end of 2015.[23][24]

The company's, "You Get Out What You Put In" campaign features professional athletes and has included snowboarder Louie Vito, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, the United States men's national soccer team, Clint Dempsey and sportscaster Dick Vitale talking to a little voice in their stomachs played by Stephen A. Smith.[25]

The company has also recruited former NFL player, Brian Urlacher and trainer Harley Pasternak to join Dempsey and Vito as spokespeople for the brand and an active lifestyle.[26]

Beginning in 2014, Oberto Brands announced a partnership with the Tough Mudder events. As part of the deal Oberto also donated $100,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project.[27] The partnership was renewed in 2015.[28]

In 2015, the company launched a commercial during Shark Week in which the CEO throws a giant piece of jerky into the ocean and a Great white shark jumps from the water to eat it.[29]


  1. ^ Wong, Brad (August 1, 2008). "Family gives seniors best seats outside the house for Seafair". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
  2. ^ "Company Overview of Oberto Sausage Co, Inc". Bloomberg Business. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Mulady, Kathy (April 25, 2002). "You Never Sausage Determination as Built Oberto". Seattle Pi. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d Kugiya, Hugo (January 11, 1998). "The Self-Made Man--Corporate America Does Not Have Much Room For Types Like Art Oberto, Candid In a Way That Frightens Most Managers. Then There's the Jerky Mobile". The Seattle Times. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  5. ^ "WSHS Hall of Fame Member List". Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  6. ^ ""Rock Solid" After 57 Years of Marriage: Dorothy and Art Oberto". Northwest Public Radio. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  7. ^ "Oh Boy! Oberto-Original Bacon Jerky". Jerky Ingredients. February 13, 2014. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  8. ^ "Oberto About Page". Oberto. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  9. ^ Wieland-Nogaki, Sylvia (July 11, 1994). "Oberto U Lessons, Finance Degree Lead To Company Presidency". The Seattle Times. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  10. ^ "Oberto To Purchase Lowrey's, Smoke Craft Snack Brands". The Seattle Times. February 23, 1994. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  11. ^ Lane, Polly (November 4, 1999). "Oberto Links With Frito-Lay". Seattle Times. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  12. ^ "3 reasons why most jerky isn't healthy". Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  13. ^ "Pacific Gold Beef Jerky - Hot & Spicy". Jerky Reviews. January 11, 2009. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  14. ^ Grunbaum, Rami (April 12, 2009). "Oberto and Frito-Lay Clash Over Meat Treats". The Seattle Times. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  15. ^ "Frito-Lay, Oberto Agree to End Partnership". Convenience Store and Fuel News. May 29, 2009. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  16. ^ "Thomas C. Ennis Executive Profile". Bloomberg Business. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  17. ^ Chaker, Anne Marie (September 26, 2012). "Trying to End 'Jerky Shame' With Gourmet Flavors". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  18. ^ De Lombaerde, Geert (November 14, 2012). "300+ Jerky Jobs Coming to Town". Nashville Post. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  19. ^ "Oberto Plans Nashville Production Facility, 300 Jobs". Nashville Business Journal. November 14, 2012. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  20. ^ "Oberto Brands Announces New Leadership". Convenience Store and Fuel News. January 7, 2015. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  21. ^ De Lombaerde, Geert (January 14, 2016). "Jerky maker closing down Nashville plant". NasvhillePost. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
  22. ^ Century-old Seattle-area snack maker Oberto sold to Canadian conglomerate Accessed April 13, 2018
  23. ^ Liebeskind, Josh (July 31, 2015). "Art Oberto Enjoys His Moment in the Sun at Seafair Hydros". Seattle Times. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  24. ^ Campbell, Mark; Campbell, David (June 30, 2015). "Oberto Leaving H1, Miss Madison". Madison Courier. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  25. ^ Jessop, Alicia (December 20, 2014). "How Richard Sherman and Stephen A. Smith Helped Oberto Beef Jerky See Significant Growth in 2014". Forbes. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  26. ^ "Oberto Turns to Athletes Brian Urlacher and Clint Dempsey on Increased Push Behind America's PROtein". Yahoo Finance. April 9, 2014. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  27. ^ "Oberto Partners With Tough Mudder". Meat and Poultry. April 8, 2014. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  28. ^ Dreier, Fred (January 19, 2015). "Tough Mudder adds Anheuser-Busch and Chipotle to 2015 Sponsor Lineup". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  29. ^ Burn, David (June 30, 2015). "Eat Like A Shark". AdPulp. Retrieved December 16, 2015.

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