MeatEater, Inc. Acquires Hunting Apparel Brand First Lite

Steven Rinella's MeatEater brand makes its first move into manufacturing and commerce, expanding beyond its media interests.

MeatEater, Inc. Acquires Hunting Apparel Brand First Lite

Photo: Idarado Media (First Lite Facebook)

In a press release issued today from MeatEater's headquarters in Bozeman, Montana, founder Steven Rinella and company announced its expansion from media into direct-to-consumer retail with the acquisition of hunting technical apparel and gear company First Lite. According to the company's release, "the deal marks a major milestone in MeatEater’s plans to expand from content to commerce and builds on the longstanding relationship between MeatEater founder Steven Rinella and the First Lite team."

First Lite has sponsored MeatEater for years and the apparel is often featured on Rinella's Netflix series. 

“I’ve been a devoted First Lite consumer for almost a decade,” said Rinella. “First Lite was a sponsor of the MeatEater TV show from the very beginning, and I’ve been loyal to them ever since. I love their products, conservation ethos, and knowledgeable customer service. What’s more, the crew at First Lite is comprised of dedicated and die-hard hunters and anglers who spend a ton of time in the field living a lifestyle they believe in.”

You’ve heard of kingmakers? Well, MeatEater is a tribe maker. They’ve groomed a tribe of consumers built on trust, loyalty, affection and aspiration. It's not unlike what the health and wellness industry has in GOOP, the lifestyle commerce brand founded by film star Gwyneth Paltrow. Read More. Photo: MeatEater, Georges Biard/Hunting Retailer Illustration

Kevin Sloan, MeatEater CEO and outdoors industry veteran, will oversee First Lite’s integration into MeatEater. As head of the newly combined company, Sloan, formerly president of Sitka Gear, will direct strategy and growth initiatives including merchandising, business development, brand evolution, and digital product development. First Lite co-founders Kenton Carruth and Scott Robinson will continue as First Lite co-presidents, running the division’s day-to-day operations with the existing First Lite leadership team based in Ketchum, Idaho.  

Since its inception in 2007, First Lite has been committed to providing the best technical apparel developed for hunters, like its signature merino wool gear. Similar to MeatEater, First Lite’s brand also represents a passion for the natural world, conservation of wildlife resources, and has earned the stalwart support of those who believe in protecting the outdoors.

"We've worked closely with Steven Rinella for almost ten years, partnering to promote conservation and supply quality gear and apparel for those who love the outdoors and want to protect it," said Carruth. “We’ve seen the significant impact Steve has had on the First Lite business as an endorser and are confident that deepening our relationship and integrating into MeatEater’s expanding content offerings will help us reach more customers and produce even better products.” 

 Based in Ketchum, Idaho, First Lite classifies itself as a high-end, direct-to-consumer retail brand that designs technical hunting apparel.  

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