Statehouse News Bureau
Terms and Conditions
- All stories in this directory may be used free of charge by news media sites, provided credit is given to the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Statehouse News Bureau. Use the URL from this page to bookmark this article, send it to a friend, or link to it from your blog.
Search the Statehouse News Bureau
Alcohol-infused ice cream could soon be manufactured and sold in Ohio
By Kat Tenbarge
The Columbus Dispatch
(February 10, 2017) — A bill that allows for alcoholic sundaes, parfaits and maybe even ice cream cake is on its way to the Ohio legislature.
House Bill 23 would permit liquor manufacturers to make and sell ice cream containing between 0.5 percent and 6 percent alcohol by volume. The legislation was written on behalf of two ice cream shop owners from Conneaut, Joe and Christine Ericksen.
“It started with a trip down to bourbon country (Kentucky),” Joe Ericksen said. “We had some bourbon ball ice cream that was really kind of awful. We realized that part of the problem is the flavoring. Instead of using bourbon, it had a chemical taste from bourbon extract. So we made some up with actual bourbon and found out that it actually makes a really good ice cream.”
Current liquor laws in Ohio permit licenses to manufacture alcoholic ice cream or licenses to sell it, but not both. The Ericksen family reached out to local Rep. John Patterson, who has since introduced the bill.
“I’ve tasted the bourbon ice cream. You’d need to eat more ice cream than what would make someone sick to get drunk on it,” the Democrat from Jefferson said. “It just gives a little flavor to vanilla ice cream.”
Heavenly Creamery, the store owned by the Ericksens, is located in an old church building. The religion-inspired theme continues with the name of their alcohol-infused ice cream line, Sinful Selections. Consumers can only taste the flavors now, but planned products include Bourbon Ball, Pina Colada and Captain Morgan ice creams, along with wine sorbets.
Ice cream with an adult kick is no new invention. Brands around the country have been selling tubs of liquor-flavored ice cream for a while now. Even Columbus-based Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams offers a whiskey flavor that tops out at less than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume.
But while whiskey-flavored scoops at Jeni’s won’t give you a buzz, ice cream with up to 6 percent alcohol content can actually get you drunk.
“I’m not saying that you couldn’t get drunk; the issue is what we call dairy belly,” Joe Ericksen said. “When you have that much milk and sugar in your system, I don’t think it would be a very enjoyable experience.”
The proposed legislation takes the elevated alcohol content into account, warning manufacturers not to knowingly sell more than four pints to a single customer in a day. If it passes, which Patterson is optimistic about, Ohio would join 22 states with similar laws.
“Rather than, you know, buy ice cream from somebody out of New Jersey or Vermont, since we produce all our own ice cream on site, we’d rather produce our own,” Joe Ericksen said. “And by the grace of God that we’re able to expand, we can bring those jobs to Ohio.”