A duo of Wisconsin transplants is making a big stir in the Twin Cities with their new concept for marketing ice cream. They’re FrozBroz, and they’re seriously obsessed with ice cream.
Ben Solberg and Erik Powers’ friendship took root in Eau Claire, Wisc. There, they developed similar interests in Do-It-Yourself projects, indie rock, and good food, and eventually they both moved to Minneapolis. Solberg works in advertising and did sales for the US Foodservice. Powers studied at the Culinary Institute of America, holds a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management, and works for a restoration company. It was natural for them to start hosting rotating dinner parties with friends in Minneapolis—and those parties instigated a friendly rivalry among the cooks. Powers and his future wife upped the ante when they registered for, and received, a basic shelf-top Cuisinart home ice cream maker for their wedding. Shortly after Solberg got one of his own, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Each week, the duo spends time in their home kitchens concocting scratch-made, small batches of distinct flavors like Brown Butter Corn Bread, 7 Layer Bar, Lavender Pistachio Honey, and Spicy Thai Peanut with Candied Lime (Heavy Table awarded them a Silver Whisk award for their “anything-goes creativity”). Smooth and creamy, FrozBroz’s brown butter base (used for their Brown Butter Corn Bread and Apricot Maple French Toast flavors, among others) is reminiscent of a butter pecan ice cream base, with assertive butter notes. Local and organic ingredients are a mainstay in their flavors, and they become newly inspired each time they meet producers like Minnesota Peach Farm or Nordeast Nectars honey. They’re excited about collaborations with Sheela Namakkal from Republic (formerly of Cake Eater) and Erica Strait from Foxy Fallafel. For now, they offer some gluten-free flavors, and they look forward to expanding to vegan flavors and sorbets.
Followers know to visit the FrozBroz blog or facebook page each week to enter a drawing for a chance to win a coveted pint of a new flavor. But weekly drawings aren’t meeting the demand for their ice cream, and Solberg and Powers are interested in expanding their hobby into a retail business.
FrozBroz aims to become one of a handful of small batch ice cream makers who will develop and pasteurize their own ice cream base. While other retailers buy pre-pasteurized ice cream bases, the FrozBroz team will develop their own. Why? They want control over the small batches of ice cream bases they’ll be making; they believe the addition of certain components while the base is still warm gives the base a greater depth of flavor. To pasteurize their own bases for small batch ice cream, Solberg and Powers will need to obtain special licensing, and will need to purchase a vat pasteurizer and chiller, a commercial ice cream maker, and supplies. To achieve that goal, FrozBroz has launched a fundraiser on indiegogo.
If they meet their fundraising goal, FrozBroz will be able to get the equipment they need and get their hands on the local ingredients they want to use without compromising their standards. With a $25 contribution, donors will get a pint of ice cream. The perks climb with each contribution level—contribute $2k, and FrozBroz will host an ice cream social for 15. And if the fundraiser fails? Then FrozBroz will probably seek investors and loans, as other small business owners have before them. The dream doesn’t end with landing a commercial kitchen and retail space though. The duo has loftier ambitions, including an ice cream CSA, farmers market booths, and perhaps having an ice cream truck (You better believe I asked, and they mentioned Dosh regarding ice cream truck music).
With aspirations on board and obstacles down the road, these Willy Wonkas of the ice cream world are gearing up for a bumpy ride. But they don’t intend to stop making ice cream anytime soon, and as long as they make it, it’ll be made their way—uncompromised, unexpected, and unconventional.