After a 29-year hiatus, one of America's oldest brands and an iconic Pennsylvania product is making its comeback. The first batches of Yuengling's Ice Cream are coming off the production line and getting ready to hit grocery store shelves by mid-February.
Leiby's Dairy in Tamaqua is producing the ice cream; the initial run will consist of 100,000 quarts in 10 flavors.
"We originally expected production to begin in March, but when we announced late last year that we were bringing back the product, the response was so enthusiastic that we pushed up production," said David Yuengling, president of Yuengling's Ice Cream.
Initially, the ice cream will be sold at Acme, Weis Markets and select independent grocery stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New York, New Jersey and West Virginia. A searchable store locator will soon be available on the company's website.
"We fully anticipate being in more grocery stores later this year," Yuengling said.
Rob Bohorad, a longtime family friend of the Yuenglings, is the chief operating officer of Yuengling's Ice Cream.
The ice cream company is not affiliated with the brewery. David Yuengling is a cousin of Dick Yuengling, the well-known owner of Yuengling Brewery in Pottsville.
While the name Yuengling is mostly recognized for brewing America's oldest beer — operating since 1829 — what kept the brand name alive and well during the prohibition era was by switching operations from beer to ice cream. Frank Yuengling, David's great-grandfather, started the dairy business in 1920 as a separate company that produced ice cream products for 65 years before shuttering operations in 1985.
"We shut down operations in 1985 when my father [Frederick Yuengling] didn't want to run the business anymore," David Yuengling said. "I was just graduating college with a computer science degree and had no interest in running the family business.
"After nearly 30 years working in the computer industry, I wanted to do something different. I spent about a year and half doing research before deciding to reopen Yuengling's Ice Cream."
While the name remains the same, the ice cream has undergone changes.
The majority of the ice cream line is kosher, and Yuengling will source all dairy products locally from Orwigsburg area farms and plans to use as many locally sourced products in the ice cream as possible.
"We chose Leiby's for the production of our ice cream because of its convenience and its modern equipment," Yuengling said.
Ten all-natural flavors of ice cream will be produced in the first run: Vanilla, chocolate, chocolate chip, black and tan (chocolate and caramel), vanilla fudge chunk with pretzels, espresso chocolate chip, chocolate fudge brownie, chocolate marshmallow, root beer float and mint chocolate chip.