And how it plans to go from "manly man" to "gender neutral."
beef jerky flowers
Credit: Courtesy of The Manly Man Co.

The idea for the Manly Man Company came to Greg Murray after a simple conversation with his wife, for whom he had recently bought a bouquet of flowers: Why isn’t there a gift for men that’s equivalent to flowers? Yes, you can buy men flowers, but the practice isn't what you might call commonplace. The couple speculated that a bouquet of beef jerky might be the perfect stand-in. Soon after his wife surprised Greg with the very first iteration of what is now called “Man Bouquets”—sticks and sheets of jerky carved into the shape of flowers and roses, and presented inside a beer mug. Thus, the Manly Man beef jerky bouquets were born.

Murray quickly realized, however, that men aren’t the only people who are big fans of beef jerky. Orders started coming in from customers requesting that the jerky bouquet be transferred out of a mug that reads “The Manly Man Company,” because the gift was intended for someone’s daughter or mother. Murray says the amount of women who were interested in the bouquets surprised him, but that he’s more than willing to cater to a demographic who wouldn’t necessarily describe themselves as “manly.”

“We’re going to be launching a new brand that’s gender neutral,” Murray tells Food & Wine. “It’s not going to be as masculine.”

Murray says the new brand will launch in about two months, ahead of Mother’s Day, but that the company simply didn’t have the manpower to expand before. Since the beginning of the year, The Manly Man Company has been growing rapidly. What started out as a handful of people making the bouquets is now a full-time operation, and many “sleepless nights," as Murray puts it. He says the company is looking for a new building and hiring contractors to help fulfill the orders, which keep pouring in.

The beef jerky bouquets have turned out to be a hit: People were putting in orders for Valentine’s Day as early as October, and they’ve now sold out. Murray says that he’s disappointed that he couldn’t accommodate every person who wanted to gift a beef jerky bouquet for Valentine’s Day, but since the bouquets are still handmade, each one taking about thirty minutes, they must be prepared well in advance in order to ship on time.

Murray reassures me that although the company isn’t taking any more orders for Valentine’s Day, the bouquets can still be purchased on back order for holidays like Father’s and Mother’s Day. The bouquets come in two variations, flowers and roses, and three flavors, original jerky, teriyaki, and spicy (Murray’s personal favorite), and can be purchased on the Manly Man website.