Beer, Jelly Beans, Ice Cream

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Over the course of my travels, I had several interesting connections with beer. First of all, I saw several interesting micro-breweries in the Rockies and in Vancouver. More interestingly, at breakfast in the Vancouver hotel, I saw a man wearing a "Yuengling Ice Cream" hat. Yuengling Ice Cream? Isn't Yuengling beer?

Apparently, it is both. During Prohibition in the 1920s, when manufacture of most alcohol was banned, the Yuengling family turned to running a dairy to support the family. It produced ice cream for 65 years, when it stopped and refocused on beer. By most accounts, it has been successful; most beer drinkers know of and have had Yuengling Beer. However, in the last year, the family has turned back to its dairy tradition, and begun manufacturing and selling ice cream.

The company's return to ice cream likely is driven by two factors:

  1. The success of the Yuengling Beer brand. While companies like Toyota and Honda needed to create a new brand to move up-market, Yuengling may be successful leveraging the beer brand into a parallel market, ice cream. At the same time, the alcohol affiliation with the Yuengling brand may instinctively drive away one of the most important demographics: children (and their purchasing parents). While Baskin-Robbins or Ben & Jerry's may have flavours affiliated with liqueurs such as Bailey's or Kahlua, these are individual flavours specifically tailored to the adult market, not the entire Baskin-Robbins or Ben & Jerry's brand.
  2. The memories of those who grew up on Yuengling. The national - and global - markets today are vastly different than they were in 1985. Children who grew up loving Yuengling Ice Cream are now well into their 40s with children of their own. If they wait too long, they are likely to lose that "market memory" entirely. Twenty to thirty years is the right time to get those adults to introduce their children to a love of their own youth.

Surprisingly, there is no "beer flavour" ice cream. I expect eventually it will arrive, as Yuengling leverages its beer flavouring expertise to attract people who remember great Yuengling Ice Cream but today enjoy Yuengling beer.

Where I did find beer flavour was.... jelly beans. Jelly Belly "draft beer" flavoured jelly beans are manufactured in their plant in California, just north of the San Francisco Bay. I was surprised at how realistic it tastes. Clearly, Jelly Belly knows it is marketing, at least partially, to adults who like beer, and thus sell both Candy Corn and Draft Beer flavoured... all without alcohol, of course.