MINNEAPOLIS -- A new alcoholic ice cream product by Ice Cream Bar Inc. here has been raising eyebrows as well as sales in the state of Minnesota.
Ice Cream Bar Inc. has begun shipping the item, called Blend's, throughout Minnesota via its wholesale distributor, Saratoga Liquor Company, Superior, Minn. It is the first commercially intoxicating ice cream product, and it is being sold in the alcohol section of supermarkets.
The product comes in such flavors as Brandy Alexander, Grasshopper and Pink Squirrel. Each single serving 100 milliliter cup has an alcohol content of between 1.6% and 3.6%, depending on the flavor. Larger metric sizes and additional flavors are in the planning stages, and a patent is pending. Suggested retail price is between 99 cents and $1.29.
"Every retail store that it has been in, it has quickly become their No. 1 sold distilled spirits product," said Daryl Orris, majority owner of ICB Inc. "We have contacted other states about this product, but it is only being introduced in Minnesota as of now."
According to Orris, the product is mostly in IGA stores, but the company is currently talking to Pick N Save. The product will have a base wrap display that will include a warning label, as only 23 states allow alcohol to be served in supermarkets.
"It is very important to us that we warn consumers that this isn't just ice cream," said Orris. "Any merchandise, as well as the product, will let people know about the warnings of alcoholic beverages."
Originally developed in 1993 at the University of Minnesota, Blend's had to go through government regulations to be approved. The package design contains warnings from the Food and Drug Administration, Washington. Orris noted that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the FDA have determined that Blend's is intoxicating, therefore it must be sold in the same supermarket area and carry the same warning labels as alcohol beverages. It can only be purchased by adults.
Scientists at the University of Minnesota have found a way to stabilize the alcohol molecule from interacting with the ice crystals and milk proteins, making it possible to combine premium liquor with ice cream. The Pillsbury Company, Minneapolis, tried doing this with Haagen Dazs and Bailey's Original Irish Cream and Di Saronno Amaretto. However, since those products have less than 1% alcohol content, federal regulatory agencies did not classify them as intoxicating.