Beef is in their blood
Wilhauks in the meat business since 1965
In May of 1965, Ben Wilhauk purchased Quality Meat Market in downtown Leduc. The town boasted a population of 2,000 at the time. Ben had learned custom killing, cutting, wrapping and sausage making while working at a plant in Barrhead. He brought brother Tony in to help him and taught him the trade while the two worked at the Market, making homemade sausage and cutting, wrapping and selling sides of beef and pork they purchased from federal plants in Edmonton.
In August it was decided that a full custom killing plant was needed in the Leduc area. Ben's dad, Pius Wilhauk Sr., moved the rest of the family from Camrose and purchased an acre of land north of Leduc near the auction mart, which was owned by the Sept family. On that acre they built their plant and called the business P.J. Wilhauk & Sons Custom Killing. In 1969, Pius Jr. left his job in Fort MacMurray to come help at the new plant.
That acre of land is now 6053 - 47 St. in Leduc and is still the home of Wilhauk Beef Jerky today.
Alex Wilhauk soon joined his father and brothers in the family business. They would custom kill beef and pork at the plant and then transport the meat to the Quality Meat Market, where the product would be cut and wrapped for sale to their customers.
In 1970, Tony left to become a meat cutter at Woodwards in Edmonton.
In 1971, after Pius Sr. retired & Pius Jr. left to become a Physic Nurse in Claresholm, AB, the Quality Meat Market was sold and the killing plant was expanded to include cut & wrap facilities, a sausage kitchen, a meat curing room, a custom smokehouse and, of course, enough coolers and freezers to keep their product fresh.
In 1972, Alex & Ben became partners and Leduc Meat Packers Ltd., was formed.
In 1974, the business was growing fast so Norm Wilhauk joined the family business, leaving a rig job to help his brothers.
In 1982, after years of suffering with back injuries while performing this gruelling work, Ben was forced to leave the company. He sold his 50% of the business to Norm. Now Norm and Alex were partners in the business.
Big things on the horizon
In 1984, Leduc Meat Packers Ltd., started making Beef Jerky. As word spread and more people began asking for this new product, the Wilhauks realized something special was beginning to grow.
The plant continued to fill custom killing and cut and wrap orders, even as the jerky end of the business was gaining ground.
In 2004, as Alex was beginning to consider retirement, his youngest son Dean was preparing to take over Alex's half of the business.
Dean would have been the first Wilhauk in the third generation to take ownership in the family business, but his sudden passing in 2005 changed that. Many of his generation worked at the plant, but Dean would have been the first owner. After Dean's passing, his brother Trent left his executive chef position and joined the family business alongside his father and Uncle Norm.
A new direction
In 2006, after many sleepless nights, Alex & Norm made the difficult decision to close the custom killing, cut & wrap portions of the business to focus on beef jerky and sausage.
That decision proved to be a sound one as beef jerky sales took off. The product soon became known as Alberta's Best Beef Jerky.
Wilhauk Beef Jerky is now famous in Alberta and orders come in from all over Canada and the United States. Customers have even sent packages of Wilhauk Beef Jerky all over the world, often to Canadian troops serving their country in Afghanistan or other war-torn countries.
In January 2012, Norm officially retired and Trent purchased his 50% of the company, making him partners with his dad, Alex. Together they have begun the process of rebranding the company as Wilhauk Beef Jerky. Meanwhile, sales and demand for the product continue to grow.
The future looks bright and we plan to be around for a long time, continuing to sell our famous Wilhauk Beef Jerky. We are already working on bringing the fourth generation into the family business, as Trent's son's Alex Jr. , Adam & Jared always help out during the Christmas rush.
On January 16, 2013, Alex Wilhauk lost his battle with Small Cell Lung Cancer at the age of 68 years old. Trent now owns 100% of Wilhauk Beef Jerky (Leduc Meat Packers LTD) and will continue to honor his father by continuing to offer excellent products and customer service that was the calling card of the Wilhauk name since 1965.
On April 8, 2016, Trent Wilhauk changed the name legally from Leduc Meat Packers LTD to Wilhauk Beef Jerky LTD. In August of 2016, Wilhauk Beef Jerky LTD became a registered trade marked name and logo in Canada due to the contining popularity of the product not only in Alberta but across Canada.
On December 10, 2016, Trent was proud to have cousin Trevor Wilhauk open Wilhauk Beef Jerky's second store in Spruce Grove, Alberta. With the two stores now going strong, the possiblities of other stores opening in the near future is realistic.
Home of Alberta's Best Beef Jerky. The reason why? Because "You Don't Win Friends With Salad!"
Simply the Best!! We have known the Wilhauk family for over 30 years. Our family has travelled from coast to coast, as well as many places abroad, tasting all different kinds of beef jerky. And I have to say... with a resounding YES... that theirs is the BEST beef jerky this side of the continent. Would travel far and wide to have it always on hand.
Leduc meat packers bar none has the best jerky ever. It is tender and has just a great taste. I have since 2002 introduced relatives, friends and all of my teammates to the great tasting jerky. The familiar response, "best ever and where do I get more?" Teammates of mine from the Montreal Alouettes to the Edmonton Eskimos still ask me about the jerky. This year the whole coaching staff from the Toronto Argonauts couldn't wait for our trip to Edmonton so I could go get some jerky for them. Only place I'll ever go to get jerky.
~ Jason Maas
I'm a big fan of Wilhauk Beef Jerky. I have shared it with several of my friends and they all loved it. The staff is friendly and helpful. I highly recommend everyone try out Wilhauk Beef Jerky at least once!
~ MacKenzie P.