Well Calgary, we did it! 2020 has come and gone, and a new year is upon us. Although the past year might have been a rollercoaster, we can probably all agree that we’ve learned some important lessons. One of them being the importance of supporting and celebrating local. And what better example of that, than a family-owned brand that has been a mainstay in the Calgary community for…well, as of 2021, 50 years!

That’s right, we’re talking about Calgary’s very own Big Chief Meat Snacks, who are celebrating their 50 year anniversary. Big Chief wants to thank Calgarians for their support over the last 5 decades. And we want to thank Big Chief for 50 years of mouthwatering memories.

So why don’t we take a trip down memory lane to see where it all began? But before we start, you might have some questions. Who is Big Chief?

big chief

Well, “Big Chief” was Wilhelm Klein, father of four, leader of the Klein clan, and founder of the company that later became Big Chief Meat Snacks. Back in 1964, the company was known as Tip Top Sausage, and operated two delicatessens in Calgary. It wasn’t until 1971 that they kicked it up a notch and changed their name to Alberta Fancy Sausage, and embarked on their beef jerky journey.

When “Big Chief” Wilhelm Klein passed away in 1977, he left the company to his wife and four children. One of them being Bert, who is now the sole owner of the company. In the 80s, Big Chief saw great success and growth. After the initial success of their Original Beef Jerky, the delicatessens were sold, and the sole focus was now on producing even more flavours of jerky. Those flavours include Hot Peppered Jerky, Beer Jerky, and one you might recognize on the shelves still today- Teriyaki Jerky!

big chief meat snacks

And, as you can imagine, Big Chief only just kept growing through the 90s and 2000s. The 90s said goodbye to Beer Jerky and Hot Peppered Jerky, and introduced the long-lasting Hot Flavoured Jerky. Then finally in 2004, the company changed its Alberta Fancy Sausage name, and Big Chief Meat Snacks was born!

And, the rest as you know, is history. Fast forward to today, Big Chief is still a family-owned and operated Calgary business that uses 100% Canadian beef. With new flavours coming onto the scene like the popular Jalapeño flavour, it’s clear that these past 50 years were only the start for Big Chief. Plus, their 50th year might even see some new flavours (hint, hint), so stay tuned!

So, thank you Calgary, for supporting amazing, locally-owned companies like Big Chief. Cheers to the next 50!