FrozBroz might seem fancy. After all, the new craft ice cream company has offered flavors like lavender honey, goat cheese fig and miso black sesame.
But Erik Powers and Ben Solberg, the Broz, are low-key. They only make two pints a week, they give them away for free on the ’net and they’re still using the same ice cream machines they started playing around with a few years ago. Powers got one as a wedding gift, and the two discovered they could ditch the standards in favor of flavors like ritz cracker and bacon & egg.
Solberg and Powers were Cub Scouts together back in their hometown of Eau Claire, Wis., When they both wound up in Minneapolis, they really became friends, bonding over a shared love for music and trying out new things in the kitchen. Before they got on the ice cream kick, they messed around with smoking meats.
The FrozBroz meet every Wednesday night to discuss new flavors they want to try out. They also talk about how they’re going to grow their business. Until they raise more money, they’ll be limited to giving their cream away for free. Minnesota law requires their business to register as a dairy if they want to sell ice cream made from their own base (most ice cream companies use a pre-made base). And that pasteurization equipment is expensive.
Solberg and Powers are raising money on the website Indiegogo so that they can start selling. No matter how they end up hawking it — whether they get an ice cream truck, sell their pints to stores, use co-ops or open up a traditional scoop shop — they’ll stick to their organic, in-season guns.
“We make everything that goes into the ice cream and if we don’t make it, it’s something like an herb or a fruit that we try to source locally,” Solberg said.
Another thing that’s important to the Broz is keeping up with their fans via social media and their blog, where they publicize new flavors and interact with fans. Without the Internet, they say their company wouldn’t exist. Comments and “likes” are how they’re gauging success.
“That’s all we have to go off of,” Powers said.
They’ve got a few other things motivating them, though. In addition to their fans, who are eagerly waiting to see if the next flavor will top maple yam and marshmallow, they’ve also got each other.
Their playful competition to make the most unique flavor keeps them excited. That’s how it’s always been. Their dairy country roots influence them too.
“We’ve got so many different ice creams with cheese in it, it’s crazy,” Powers said.
“We try to get as much dairy in our dairy as we can,” Solberg added.
Solberg tried to make a black vanilla ice cream using squid ink but, according to Powers, “it didn’t work out.” More successful were recent collaborations with cupcake connoisseur Sheela Namakkal and Foxy Falafel’s Erica Strait.
In general, the Broz feel like it’s hard to go wrong. Everyone wants free ice cream, and you can pretty much add anything to ice cream — it’s hard to make it bad.
As Solberg put it, “We can’t give ourselves too much credit, because it’s just cream and sugar.”
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