Traverse City Record-Eagle

Food

February 13, 2014

Beer float, anyone?

POTTSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — Breyers, Ben & Jerry’s, Edy’s and Yuengling’s: Which thing is not like the others?

Trick question. They all make ice cream.

The supermarket freezer aisle got a little more crowded Monday as Yuengling — a name more associated with ale, porter and lager than vanilla, chocolate and strawberry — took its place alongside the familiar brands.

Beer drinkers up and down the East Coast know Yuengling as a 185-year-old family-owned Pennsylvania brewery whose lager flows from taps in countless bars and restaurants. What they might not realize is that Yuengling used to make ice cream, too, starting in 1920 at the dawn of Prohibition.

Now Yuengling’s Ice Cream is back after an absence of nearly 30 years, available at hundreds of stores in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey. Additional stores and markets could be added later.

“I was brought up with it,” said Bob Pomian, picking up a $4.99 carton of chocolate marshmallow at a store in Pottsville, a few miles away from the brewery. “If it’s the same ice cream I ate 50 years ago, then I’d be happy with it.”

This incarnation of Yuengling’s Ice Cream is a separate company with no connection to the brewery. But it has already capitalized on that famous name. Yuengling’s initial run of 100,000 quarts rolled off the production line ahead of schedule because of high demand, fueled by nostalgia and the popularity of the eponymous beer.

“One of the biggest things in putting a new product on the market is getting brand-name recognition, which is a problem we don’t have,” said Yuengling’s Ice Cream President David Yuengling, a cousin of brewery owner Dick Yuengling and great-grandson of the man who started the original ice cream company 94 years ago. “We are really popular for not having been on the market for 30 years.”

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