COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A few years ago, the legislature passed a bill that allowed alcohol infused ice cream to be made and sold for consumption on the premises where it was created.
Now, some want to add a second scoop to that by allowing manufacturers to sell it to grocers, restaurants and the public at large via the internet.
The House bill now making its way through the Senate would let third-party food delivery services like Uber Eats and Doordash transport the ice cream straight to someone’s door if they ordered it.
Make no mistake, there is a market for alcohol flavored ice cream. The Haagen Dazs Spirits line can be found practically nationwide. They get around federal law considering it alcoholic by ensuring the ice cream contains less than 0.5% Alcohol By Volume (ABV).
The kind of ice cream producers want to ship and serve in Ohio contains 5% ABV, the equivalent of a bottle of Budweiser or a glass of Italian Moscato d’Asti.
The ice cream would only be able to be resold by grocers with an Ohio Liquor Agency or by restaurants with the correct permits.
It would also open the state up to other manufacturers from across the country who have not been able to sell their products here.
Buzzed Bull Creamery in Cincinnati is positioning itself to take full advantage if this bill were to pass. It has already taken steps to jump on this trend which appears to be on a similar trajectory as the frozen yogurt craze you may remember starting back in the late ’90s.
“They’re projecting that within the next three years this will turn into a $1.5-2.5 billion industry in the United States,” said Colton Mounce, with Buzzed Bull Creamery.
While the creamery is an Ohio business now, it makes no sense to remain one if it can’t expand and given its proximity to other states with potentially better legal situations from which to operate, they are hoping lawmakers make this change.
Change is what many businesses depend on to stay relevant, according to Jennifer Williams, a co-owner of Weilands Market in Clintonville. The independent grocery store needs to find ways to be competitive with major chains like Kroger, Giant Eagle, Trader Joe’s and the like.
Weilands has an Ohio Liquor Agency on premises, which makes it attractive to some customers since they can provide a wider selection than other places as a result. They can also serve beer and wine for customers to sample as they shop as an additional benefit.
However, cocktails and high proof spirits are not allowed to be offered through the agency.
An amendment proposed for the ice cream bill would change that as well, giving these stores another competitive edge to lean on.
“Is it going to make or break anybody as a grocery store or a convenience store or something? No, but you know what? It’s another option and the more options all of us who want to be competitive can offer to customers, the better it is,” Williams said.
She says she would look forward to carrying the alcohol infused ice cream in her store should the bill pass and be signed into law.