We All Scream For Yuengling’s Ice Cream

We All Scream For Yuengling’s Ice Cream
By Laurie Teter

After a nearly 30 year hiatus Yuengling’s Ice Cream is making a return to area grocery stores. According to David Yuengling, if the frozen desert section of your neighborhood food store isn’t already housing Vanilla Fudge Chunk with Pretzels and Chocolate Fudge Brownie, chances are it will be shortly.

In 1920 David’s great-grandfather, Frank Yuengling, started a dairy business to help support the family brewery during Prohibition. Over the next 65 years Yuengling’s Ice Cream Corporation morphed into Yuengling’s Dairy Products Corporation and the Pottsville plant expanded several times. Additional branches were established in York and Allentown and Yuengling’s Ice Cream quickly became a favorite among Pennsylvania families. In 1985 David’s father, Fredrick G. “Fritz” Yuengling, Jr. who’d been at the helm since 1963, made the difficult decision to cease production and closed the Pottsville plant.

Throughout high school and college David worked at the family businesses doing “anything and everything.” David, now President of Yuengling’s Ice Cream, explains “my dad gave me the opportunity to learn the business. I’d be working on one thing and then be put on something else just so I could learn all facets of the operation.” A year following his college graduation the family ice cream business closed and David began his career as a computer consultant.

Even though people have regularly asked David why his family stopped making the ice cream and confided in him that Yuengling’s was “always their favorite brand,” David was still surprised to discover the large number of people who remember the ice cream from 30 years ago. That interest, coupled with his weariness from years of business travel, was part of his motivation to re-introduce Yuengling’s Ice Cream. The real impetus came when family friend Rob Bohorad, now Chief Operating Officer, approached David and asked “have you ever thought about bringing the ice cream back?”

Bohorad, whose expertise and experience lies in financial management and the launching of start-up companies, and Yuengling spent the following year meeting with industry experts, manufacturing and distribution professionals and thoroughly researching the ice cream market. In fact, one specialist spent hours informing the duo of all the issues that could and probably would go wrong, but ultimately they all agreed it was a great idea and the new partners decided to move forward.

Recognizing it would be cost-prohibitive to build their own manufacturing plant, Yuengling and Bohorad turned to Leiby’s, a state-of-the art ice-cream manufacturing facility in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania. Leiby’s co-packs or produces ice cream for 17 companies and as a result secures volume-based cost benefits on ingredients. Equally important, half-jokes Yuengling, “they are five minutes from my house.” Logistically it just made sense. Leiby’s has expanded their plant several times over the last few years and can easily meet any demand Yuengling’s has now or in the future.

While initial distribution is focused in grocery stores, opportunities in secondary markets such as convenience stores, food service/catering, restaurants and ice cream shops are being explored.

Capitalizing on name recognition, the ice cream will initially be distributed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Southern New York, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. Although inquiries have been made from New England to Florida, the plan is to concentrate on the home market first.

When the brand was originally launched in 1920, the ice cream shared the same logo as the beer. In the 1940s the product got its own logo and today’s version is a slight variation on that design.

Outcomes from focus groups comprised of mostly friends and individuals familiar with the original product helped determine which flavors would be produced initially. Those results, coupled with current market demand, generated a menu of 10 flavors including:


Traditional favorites:  



Chocolate Chip

Mint Chocolate Chip

Chocolate Marshmallow


Contemporary selections: 

Black and Tan (a swirl of rich Belgian Chocolate and salty caramel ice cream)

Vanilla Fudge Chunk with Pretzels

Chocolate Fudge Brownie

Root Beer Float

Espresso Chocolate Chip


When prompted to disclose a favorite, Yuengling admitted he’s an “Espresso Chocolate Chip guy,” but also really likes the Root Beer Float ice cream even though he was never a fan of the soda.

Thirty years ago Yuengling’s Ice Cream (like all other ice cream) was made with high fructose corn syrups, artificial colors and preservatives.  Today the company has re-formulated the original recipe using all natural ingredients, almost all of which are sourced locally. The new product is positioned in the high end of the premium ice cream segment (defined by the International Food Dairies Association as having low overrun (air), higher fat content and the manufacturer using higher quality ingredients than used in Regular and Economy segments) and just slightly below the super premiums, like Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs.

According to Yuengling many of the major brands are manufactured by only a handful of foreign companies and a lot of them have been cutting back on quality. “We thought we could put out an American product higher in quality and better in price than what’s out there today,” stated Yuengling.

Thanks to a smart public relations campaign, word quickly spread that Yuengling’s Ice Cream was making a comeback and demand for the product started well before the first quart came off the production line. Inquiries were being made to grocery stores all around the region and Yuengling’s Facebook page had nearly 9,000 “likes” before Christmas – a clear indication that ice cream lovers, young and old, were eager to sample the new offerings from an old favorite.

Consistent with the Yuengling’s family values, at least 3% of all profits earned by Yuengling’s Ice cream will be contributed to charitable causes and non-profit groups. In addition to enjoying delicious ice-cream, consumers will also be helping to support some very worthy organizations.

Update an old favorite ice cream with high-quality natural ingredients; produce it in Pennsylvania using locally sourced milk and cream; package it in recognizable one quart containers; place it in local and regional grocery stores; combine with a family tradition of quality and value. Sounds like a recipe for success!

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