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Owner

Ajay's Montana Banana Beef Jerky Co.
 
Background

Employment History

  • Singer

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • Member
    Cayene
Web References
The Union - News
www.theunion.com [cached]
Ajay Avery, owner of Ajay's Montana Banana Beef Jerky Co., shows off a large slab of beef jerky Wednesday at his booth at the Nevada County Fair.After an aborted career as a musician, Avery has found a niche hawking the smoked, dried delicacy.
...
Ajay Avery's dreams of becoming the "Jimmy Dean of beef jerky" aren't too far-fetched when you consider how he got started in the business.
Avery was the singer/songwriter in a country rock group that was going nowhere when he walked into an old-time butcher shop in Missoula, Mont., in 1977 and bought some "Cowboy Dry" jerky.
"We were in heaven," he said recently."It was the best jerky we ever had."
That experience - and the band's demise shortly thereafter - formed the genesis of Ajay's Montana Banana beef jerky, which now generates $1 million a year in retail sales in 13 states and spurred dreams of emulating Dean, a country singer who made a fortune selling pork sausage.
Avery is selling the classic Cowboy Dry and several modern versions of the Old West staple this week from his booth at the Nevada County Fair, his 10th year at the fair and the only one he attends.
The rest of the time, Avery leaves his Alta Sierra-area home two days a week to drive a delivery route through California and Nevada, tries to line up more distributors, and promotes the concept of high-quality jerky.
Many retailers "don't want a better product," he said."They want a mediocre product at a deep discount."
Avery never envisioned becoming the Pied Piper of a convenience store staple when he left Rio Vista in the early '70s to seek fame and fortune in the music world.
He was a member of Cayene, a group that toured the western states from 1973 to 1978.
...
The band was getting close to the end when Avery visited the Missoula butcher shop, and he started selling the jerky between tours and during his free time on the road.
He took 110 pounds of the jerky to a four-week engagement at a Stuart Anderson's restaurant in Tempe, Ariz., in the spring of 1978."I made more money from the jerky than I did at Stuart Anderson's," Avery said.
Avery returned to the butcher shop to make a deal with its proprietor, Ben Wilkinson.
...
Avery signed up his first store in August 1979 and started looking for distributors outside the candy/tobacco distributors that typically handle beef jerky.
Avery had more persistence than knowledge or experience when he started."I just kept pounding my head on the walls until I knocked down some walls," he said."As a starving musician, I learned to live on very little."
He now has a network of about 80 distributors, including two Budweiser distributors that have been carrying his products for 24 years.
Many of them are private party distributors who cater directly to "the beer-drinking, wrench-turning, blue-collar kind of guy," Avery said.
Please visit our advertisers!> Avery has set his sights on signing up a national distributor, as well as large retail chains "that like a really, really good product," he said."The objective quality of what we do can't be beat."
Most beef jerky sold today is made with teriyaki oil, which makes it softer, sweeter and adds weight.Avery also makes jerky with the oil, but prefers the water-based Cowboy Dry.
"The water makes it chewier, so it should be broken into small pieces and chewed like gum," Avery said."But the taste lasts and lasts."
He added that there is no significance to the name Montana Banana."I'm a songwriter," Avery said.
Ajay's Montana Bananas - Original Peppered | Beef Jerky Reviews
www.bestbeefjerky.org, 17 Feb 2009 [cached]
It was started by Ajay Avery, a singer in a country-rock band that toured the western states between 1973 and 1978. Ajay was also big jerky lover.
He was in Missoula, MT, getting some gasoline, when he walked into a nearby butcher shop owned by Henry Wilkinson. He saw some beef jerky that Wilkinson had made, and bought some, and discovered what he felt was the best beef jerky there had ever been. Ajay would return to Wilkinson's butcher shop, and buy up several bags of this stuff, and sell them at concert venues where his band played. Eventually, he earned more money selling the jerky than he did from the band.
...
This particular "Original Peppered" is also known as "Cowboy Dry", and is the same recipe that Ajay bought from Wilkinson.
...
Maybe that's why Ajay distributes this stuff through tool trucks.
Beef Jerky Reviews: February 2009
www.bestbeefjerky.org, 1 Feb 2009 [cached]
It was launched back in 1979 by a singer and songwriter named Ajay Avery.
The business launched with the "Cowboy Dry" variety, which today Ajay markets as "Original Peppered".
...
It was started by Ajay Avery, a singer in a country-rock band that toured the western states between 1973 and 1978. Ajay was also big jerky lover.
He was in Missoula, MT, getting some gasoline, when he walked into a nearby butcher shop owned by Henry Wilkinson. He saw some beef jerky that Wilkinson had made, and bought some, and discovered what he felt was the best beef jerky there had ever been. Ajay would return to Wilkinson's butcher shop, and buy up several bags of this stuff, and sell them at concert venues where his band played. Eventually, he earned more money selling the jerky than he did from the band.
...
This particular "Original Peppered" is also known as "Cowboy Dry", and is the same recipe that Ajay bought from Wilkinson.
Ajay's Montana Bananas - Extra Hot | Beef Jerky Reviews
www.bestbeefjerky.org, 25 Mar 2009 [cached]
The name "Ajay" refers to the company owner Ajay Avery, who discovered this jerky while in Missoula, MT. At the time, it was produced by a local butcher.
...
For myself, after having reviewed many other brands of hot jerky, I think this Extra Hot variety from Ajay's is indeed hotter than many others, so perhaps it's warranted.
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This flavor is actually the same as Ajay's "Original Extra Hot", which has the thicker cut of meat, but got the lower "good" rating from me.
...
But then again, Ajay gives us five ounces of jerky in this slab-style thin cut, compared to four ounces in his thicker cut, but charges the same price. So maybe, he's making up for that.
Beef Jerky Reviews: March 2009
www.bestbeefjerky.org, 1 Mar 2009 [cached]
The name "Ajay" refers to the company owner Ajay Avery, who discovered this jerky while in Missoula, MT. At the time, it was produced by a local butcher.
...
Ajay's Montana Bananas brand of jerky has been around for 30 years, even more than that if you want to consider Ajay Avery himself started selling this jerky before then. In fact, it's been around longer if you consider he bought the recipe for his original Cowboy style jerky from a Missoula, MT butcher shop that had been selling thsi jerky for years before then.
...
Ajay's has two lines of jerky, one that uses this traditional thicker cut, and the other uses a slab-style thin cut.
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