Perky Jerky

How a happy accident turned a gas station snack into caffeinated fare for all-nighters
Perky Jerky
Maryse Chevriere

Perky Jerky: guarana flavored, caffeine-imbued beef jerky.

An energy drink spills on some beef jerky during a ski trip, and two Wharton students, Matt Keiser and Brian Levin, have an idea for the ultimate term paper nourishment or snack for an all-night, cross-country drive: Perky Jerky. Keiser and Levin’s beefy energy jolt comes from the 60 milligrams of caffeine from guarana per ounce — a fruit said to contain double the caffeine of a typical cup of coffee.

The jerky certainly possesses the traditional flavor base — you know you’re eating dried beef. But, it also provides a sweet-sour burst with each bite of the surprisingly tender meat. The jerky also lacks the toughness and excess preservatives that make most national brands less appetizing. Even sports stores like Sports Authority have started to carry it. It’s as equally health-conscious as it is invigorating — the perfect combination for an off-road snack.

— Madeline G. Muldoon