After spying a bottle of vodka and a pint of ice cream in the freezer one evening, Jason Kirby of Charleston, S.C. set out to combine the two. The result: Hardscoop Alcohol Ice Cream, which utilizes premium ingredients such as cocoa, coffee beans and Madagascar vanilla with high-quality alcohol.
Though the concept may sound easy – who wouldn’t love a little booze mixed into their dessert? – the process actually took hundreds of batches, as well as a lot of thought and innovation. Kirby, who started the business with his brother-in-law Chris Ledbetter, said it also took a crash course in alcohol-related government regulations.
Officially founded in 2013, the first pint of Hardscoop was sold locally at Bottles Beverage Superstores in the spring of 2017. Each pint is 8 ½ to 10 % ABV (Alcohol By Volume), meaning you may feel a buzz with your spoonful, but you shouldn’t get drunk. Put another way, one pint has 3 ½ servings and each serving is similar to a glass of wine or strong beer.
The distillery, which has also been churning out hand sanitizer during the pandemic, makes seven flavors: vanilla, chocolate, cold brew coffee, strawberry sorbet, peach sorbet, sea salt caramel and butterscotch rum. During the holidays, Bourbon Apple Cider (made using pressed juice from crisp apples and local bourbon), Peppermint Stick (made with candy cane from Sweet Julep’s, a local Charleston candy store), and Eggnog (made with bourbon, rum, brandy, nutmeg and cream from a local dairy farm) were also part of the repertoire. Seasonal flavors are a big part of what the company does; in the Fall Pumpkin Spice was a huge seller.
At the moment, the ice cream is available at select South and North Carolina stores. However, starting in 2021, Kirby will inaugurate online ordering and nationwide shipping. In the meantime, if you need hand sanitizer, Hardscoop has already doled out hundreds of bottles to South Carolina government agencies, first responders and hospitals and has plenty available for shipping.
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