NY Creamery Seeks to Be the Next Ben & Jerry's
All around New York, Ample Hills Creamery Inc. is famous for its incredibly delicious ice creams and scrumptious original flavors like Chocolate 3 ways and Salted Crack Caramel. Across the nation it has gained recognition for being the Star Wars film franchise’s official ice cream. Its limited-edition Dark Side and Light Side flavors sold 40,000 pints online when it was released alongside the new movie The Force Awakens.
Out of a single facility spanning 900 square feet, Ample Hills co-founder Brian Smith made all of that Star Wars ice cream. According to Bloomberg News, “Now, as he works on new flavors for The Last Jedi, he’s opening a 15,000-square-foot factory in Brooklyn and a new flagship store in L.A., and gearing up for ice cream’s biggest challenge: to become the next Ben & Jerry’s. Before he began selling scoops at the first Ample Hills in a residential Brooklyn neighborhood in 2011, Smith was a science-fiction screenwriter with a side obsession. ‘ I absolutely love making ice cream,’ he says. He and his wife, Jackie Cuscuna, fashioned their store on the small neighborhood shop Cuscuna grew up visiting— Eddie’s Sweet Shop in Queens, an ice cream parlor that’s been open for 108 years. By the time they’d opened their second store, Smith had determined he wanted to be the next Ben & Jerry’s. In 2015, on a road trip to Vermont with Cuscuna (now Ample Hills CCO, or chief culture officer), he met the actual Jerry Greenfield, who gave them some key advice: Concentrate on pints of ice cream, not stores. Virtually all Ben & Jerry’s stores are franchises.”
Many businesses in the food industry how drawn on the Ben & Jerry’s brand for inspiration. Since ice cream is so simple to make, the founders decided to do that in 1978. Adding all sorts of creative chunks and swirls, they made a place for themselves in the history of artisanal food. For around $326 million Unilever bought out Ben & Jerry’s in 2000. The brands annual revenue today is about $1.23 billion, which remains to be below the now Nestlé owned Häagen-Dazs by $1 billion. In 2014, Unilever purchased another artisan ice cream brand, Talenti, whose revenue at that time was $120 million. Although Talenti is admired by Smith, he doesn’t think it comes anywhere close to the level of Ample Hills.
He said, “Their ice cream is good, it’s perfectly fine, but nothing makes it stand out other than the container.”
“I absolutely love making ice cream”
Ample Hills founders Jackie Cuscuna and Brian Smith.