Where we come from
CEO Ben van den Heever grew up in Pretoria, South Africa. He could often be found at his grandfather's butchery. Oupa Dawie (his grandfather) was a very lovable butcher and respected hunter. He made some of the "best biltong" in Pretoria. Ben would never leave without a paper bag full of fresh biltong.
Ben van den Heever was living as a programmer and part time musician in Brooklyn, NY. He made his own biltong every now and again, based on his Grampa’s recipe. After he met and married American Emily Conley, they started their journey in an inspiring city!
The company started with Ben and Em (now van den Heever too!) on their Brooklyn stoop eating leftover wedding food. Having gotten married the day before, they were talking about the party.
They kept coming back to their friends excitement over the small batch of ‘kitchen biltong’, happily devoured at the reception.This made Ben and Em think about the opportunity there was for biltong in the States. As they ate, they were sharing food with some homeless as they passed by. Ben said, “I wish we still had some biltong to give them.” And like a light flipping on, from those two moments, Brooklyn Biltong was born.
Brooklyn Biltong is founded on two goals: to introduce biltong to America, and make a difference in our neighborhood while doing so.
Biltong is more than a snack; it’s a substantial, sugar free, artificial preservative free, protein. Too many protein snacks are made with fillers and junk. We want the American consumer to have a healthy jerky option, but we also care about those who depend on the generosity of others for their next meal. Unfortunately fresh items don’t tend to find their way to the homeless very often. Our heart is with them. We donate 10% of our profits in actual biltong to The Homeless Bus in NYC.