Iconic Yuengling ice cream starts production
TAMAQUA - The first batch of Yuengling's Ice Cream came off the production line Thursday morning and will hit grocery store shelves in February.
First made in 1920, the ice cream is back after a 28-year hiatus.
"It's a very exciting time for us," David Yuengling, company president, said. "We originally expected production to begin in March, but when we announced in September that we were bringing back Yuengling's Ice Cream, the response was so enthusiastic that we pushed up production."
Leiby's Dairy in Tamaqua is producing the ice cream. Initial production consists of 100,000 quarts in 10 flavors.
Yuengling's Ice Cream is a premium line with 10 all-natural flavors, including vanilla, chocolate, chocolate chip, black and tan (chocolate and caramel ice cream), vanilla fudge chunk with pretzels, espresso chocolate chip, chocolate fudge brownie, chocolate marshmallow, root beer float and mint chocolate chip.
"Acme, Weis and other independent grocers asked to have Yuengling's Ice Cream before the original launch date," Rob Bohorad, chief operating officer, said. "We bumped up production to accommodate them, but we fully anticipate being in more grocery stores later this year."
From Prohibition to 1985
David Yuengling relaunched Yuengling's Ice Cream on Sept. 24, 2013, as a private company. It is not associated with the Pottsville brewery. David Yuengling is a second-cousin to Richard L. "Dick" Yuengling, president and owner of the brewery, and grew up in Pottsville.
David Yuengling is the great-grandson of Frank D. Yuengling, who started the original ice cream company in 1920.
Frank D. Yuengling started Yuengling's Ice Cream to supplement the brewery's revenue during Prohibition. In 1929, the company expanded with branches in Allentown and York and changed its name the following year to Yuengling Dairy Products and started producing its own milk and cream. Ownership was transferred to Frederick Yuengling Sr. in 1935.
David Yuengling's father, Frederick G. "Fritz" Yuengling Jr., became company president in 1963. Yuengling's Dairy ceased production in 1985.
Ice cream for breakfast?
Quarts will cost between $5.49 and $5.99.
Vanilla and chocolate marshmallow were the first to hit the production line Thursday.
The original recipe was only slightly changed to include all-natural ingredients. The milk and cream is being locally sourced as part of the PA Preferred brand.
"I love it," David Yuengling said. "I've been having it for breakfast for about the last month."
He said his personal favorites include chocolate marshmallow and black and tan.
"I really like the espresso chocolate chip because I'm a coffee person," he said.
Bill Parks, owner of Leiby's Dairy, said the facility is now a contract packer for 16 different ice cream companies, as well as other products.
"The facility was built to expand and grow," Parks said.
Parks said the fully-automated plant produces about 40 quarts a minute.
Bohorad said he spent a portion of the day just watching the ice cream cartons with Yuengling's Ice Cream logo go by on the production line.
"We couldn't wait to see actual production," he said. "It's that exciting to see your product go by on production. It's really something special. My whole goal was to be part of something special and bring his family business back."
The ice cream is expected to be in grocery stores by mid-February. It will be sold first at Acme, Weis and select independent grocery stores, such as Boyer's Food Markets and Redner's Markets, in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia.
Retail includes about 450 to 500 stores, David Yuengling said. A searchable store locator will be available on the website later this month.
For more information, go to www.yuenglingsicecream.com.