Though it started as an accident, Frozen Pints craft beer ice cream has become one of the hottest (frozen) treats in the city this summer. The first ice cream with alcohol content to be distributed, Frozen Pints is now available in 30 locations, including H. Harper Station and Cypress Street Pint & Plate. Warning: You will be ID'd when purchasing it. Manufactured locally with no artificial flavorings, it will be available to VIP ticket holders at Taste of Atlanta, as well as at Taste's for their beer growler dinner. Founders Ari Fleischer and Aly Moler are working on creating an exclusive, limited-release flavor for Atlanta Beer Week (Oct. 20 to Oct. 27). They'll also be serving at the annual TEDxPeachtree conference, alongside fellow local food businesses Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters and Cacao Chocolatier. Below, Ari and Ali share their thoughts on this growing business.
How did you come up with the idea for Frozen Pints?
Ari: I came up with the idea about two years ago, and it actually was an accident. We were having a barbecue, and a friend of mine happened to bring over an ice-cream maker. We’re all craft beer geeks, so of course we had some solid brews around. One thing led to another, and my buddy spilled his beer right next to the ice-cream maker. I was drinking one of my favorites at the time, saw it happen, and it just kind of clicked—why not pour it in and see how it turns out? The first batch came out pretty tasty, so I picked it up as a hobby. Fast forward a few months, and I realized that I was actually onto something and decided to go at it full blast. I’m a craft beer fanatic, and I finally found something I can work on that I really love.
Aly: Ari and I always bonded over our love for craft beer. When he first told me about “the accident” I was a little skeptical, but after trying it for myself, I saw what a perfect vehicle ice cream was for the complex flavors within. Using alcohol in desserts is not a novel concept, but nothing like this had ever been done before. I started suggesting beers and flavor combinations, helping out at festivals and with some of the marketing, and before long realized it was becoming more than a hobby as well!
What made you decide to pursue it full time?
Ari: I left my day job just before we started selling, but Aly still has hers! Everyone tells you to keep it as long as possible, and that’s probably good advice. For me, it got to the point where I realized I’d be holding back the business if I didn’t jump all the way in, and once I realized that, it was a no-brainer.
Aly: I still am working full time, so it’s been a lot to juggle. Fortunately I’m able to take care of most things on nights and weekends, but there are only so many hours in the day! (Hopefully) it will become something I need to focus on, and I’m excited for when the time comes. It’s a unique product, but an even more unique opportunity—being on the ground floor of something innovative, in areas I am passionate about, is worth the risk.
What is your background? Any food or drink experience?
Ari: We’re both avid eaters and drinkers (that came out wrong), but neither of us have any professional experience. I did take a course on ice cream production, but what’s most relevant is having a really solid knowledge of beers and how to use them.
Aly: My background is in corporate marketing, so learning to navigate the food and alcohol industries has been interesting! Even though I have no formal experience, I’ve been exploring the food and restaurant scene in Atlanta since I moved here—attending festivals and food events, searching for hidden gems—I’m always looking to expand my horizons.
What do you like best about your job?
Ari: The most rewarding thing for me is seeing the reaction when people first try the ice cream. I love creating something completely unique and enjoyable, especially when it’s in a domain I’m so passionate about.
Aly: For me it’s about creating an experience. It’s the type of thing that inspires conversation—just like a special craft beer, people enjoy being able to share their knowledge and experience with others. As long as we can continue to create a product that tastes good and can be enjoyed in a way that brings people together for a good time, we’ll be happy!
How has it been going so far?
Ari: It’s been great! We’re in around 30 locations currently, and the response has been fantastic. The best part has been getting to know the craft beer community here—it’s very close-knit, and everyone is truly supportive.
Aly: Neither of us have done anything like this before, but it feels right. It’s a fun product and people get really excited when they hear we’ve combined their “two favorite things!” We have some great events planned and will have new flavors coming out shortly, so it’s a very exciting time.
Where is it sold?
Ari: We’re primarily in package stores and a few grocery stores. You can check out the list on our Find Us page on the website to see them all. We’re starting to talk to more restaurants and have had interest from all different types—everything from high-end, fine dining to beer-focused gastropubs.
Aly: It’s such a versatile product, so it has been really interesting to see how it comes to life in different environments. H. Harper Station is doing a flight with three flavors right now—each paired with a complementary topping. We also did a great event with Cypress Street Pint & Plate: an Adult Ice Cream Social! They served Frozen Pints in milkshake form, as a shooter, and as a float.
What's been the hardest part for you so far?
Ari: Probably the logistics and legal aspects. It’s tough to handle frozen product, and it’s tough to start up an alcohol-related venture; put them both together and it’s quite a challenge.
Aly: The uncertainty. It’s a completely new product and nearly impossible to predict what is going to happen. I’m starting to learn that while it is important to have a plan, it’s even more important to adapt as things change.
What advice do you have for aspiring restaurateurs or entrepreneurs?
Ari: I don’t think we have nearly enough time to answer that question! We’ve learned so much over the past two years. More than anything, it’s about perseverance in the face of obstacles. The people who succeed are those who don’t give up.
Aly: Talk to people! There’s so much to learn. There’s also a great community of entrepreneurs willing to share their experiences so that you can avoid learning the hard way. Those people are probably closer than you think, too. The number of people with relevant experience or contacts that I found in my own network surprised me—it was just a matter of starting the conversation.
Anything else we should know?
Aly: People can stay up-to-date on events and locations by checking our website, liking us on Facebook to follow postings, and/or by following us on Twitter.
· Frozen Pints [Official Site]