Stonewall Kitchen has a new owner with a goal to make the Maine-based specialty food brand a household name across North America.
The new proprietor Audax Private Equity, a Boston-based investment firm, said the two companies want to make Stonewall the leading specialty food company in North America, expanding into new markets by acquiring more premium brand makers of high-quality products.
“Expansion into new markets and products will largely be determined by the growth of our family of brands,” Stonewall chief executive John Stiker said.
Stonewall Kitchen founders Jim Stott and Jonathan King started making cranberry marmalade, roasted garlic mustard, and other homemade goods as Christmas gifts for friends and family in the late 1980s.
The duo soon began selling their preserves and condiments at farmers markets. Before long, the brand took off and they were receiving orders for thousands of jars of marmalade from Crate & Barrel.
The brand had been owned by a New York firm, Centre Partners since 2014, and under its tutelage expanded its national distribution and partnered with local chain restaurant Legal Sea Foods.
Stonewall Kitchen has also made a series of acquisitions, including cocktail accessory brand Tillen Farms, culinary oil and vinegar brand Napa Valley Naturals, and organic Italian pasta brand Montebello.
“We’ve experienced a significant amount of growth over the last five years, and by partnering with Audax, we’ll look to provide even more innovative, high-quality, and delicious products for our customers and guests as we continue to grow going forward,” Stiker added in a statement.
Stonewall Kitchen’s range of gourmet offerings from truffle ketchup to raspberry peach champagne jam to Maine craft ale mustard are now sold in 60 countries. It also has nine retail stores, where taste tests of its jams and jellies are popular with customers, and operates a cooking school with locations in York, Maine and Costa Mesa, Calif.
In addition to its signature spreads and condiments, Stonewall Kitchen makes chips, coffee, tea, baking mixes, and syrup. The company also sells a line of kitchen and home goods that features cookware, kitchen appliances, and home decor.
Stott retired five years ago but King still serves as chief creative officer for the company.
The company’s management will remain the same, the statement said.