Cookies and Ice Cream

Emory alumni build businesses around these snack-time classics.

By Michelle Valigursky

When snack cravings strike, hungry people look for sweets to satisfy a restless belly. What better reward than cookies and ice cream? For entrepreneurs Katherine Frankstone 83C of Grey Ghost Bakery, and  Ari Fleischer 06B and Aly Moler 09B of Frozen Pints, concocting tasty treats has become their business passion.  

Year over year, consumers grow more tantalized by specialty food items that satisfy their need to taste new flavors and experience palate-pleasing cuisines from around the world. In 2012, United States consumers spent nearly $86 billion on specialty foods. That same year, specialty food sales grew more than 14% over 2011, according to “The State of the Specialty Food Industry 2013,” published by Specialty Food Magazine.   

EmoryWire visits with two rising specialty food companies founded by Emory alumni in this growing market.

Grey Ghost Bakery

Grey Ghost Bakery's founder Katherine Frankstone 83C learned the craft of baking alongside her father. Now, after a career in lending and nonprofit fundraising, Frankstone turns her considerable organizational and culinary talents to growing a gourmet business. From their home base in Columbia, South Carolina, Frankstone’s husband, Manning, and three sons are eager to lend their support, especially when it comes to taste-testing.

In her crispy sweet cookies, Frankstone delivers more than just great taste. Using cookie recipes handed down generation after generation, she also delivers reminiscence of childhood days spent in Grandma’s kitchen. “Recapturing that culinary magic in our products is so important,” Frankstone says, recalling her own childhood days spent baking in her family’s Pawley’s Island beach house. “Family moments mean everything, and special treats are always at the heart of great memories. I want to recreate that feeling in every bite.”

In founding Grey Ghost Bakery in fourth quarter 2011, Frankstone focused on developing product names, the company logo, and branding. She named her enterprise for South Carolina’s legendary Grey Ghost, a friendly spirit who keeps watch to protect residents. “I wanted to create a different type of bakery. One with signature products and a regional flair,” Frankstone explains.

With superb quality products an essential deliverable for her new business, Frankstone concentrated on perfecting three secret family recipes to initially represent Grey Ghost Bakery. Each cookie is preservative free, shaped by hand, and made with all natural ingredients. Aligned with local food suppliers, Frankstone cultivated strong community relationships and gained vital recognition in the process. "Great recipes and premium, real ingredients are the keys to our freshness and taste.”

Crisp packaging and production controls in place, the new business took off. “Our cookies are now sold in 25 stores in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Connecticut, and Texas, and we add stores weekly. It’s tons of fun!” Frankstone says. Online recognition, too, is growing by the day. Grey Ghost Bakery cookies are being included in curated food boxes from stores such as Treatsie.com and LoveWithFood.com. “One intriguing feature of the Love With Food boxes is that for every box sold, the company donates a meal through a nationwide network of food banks,” she adds.

Now with one full year in business, Frankstone reflects on her journey. “We had no idea that our cookies would be so well-received,” she shares. After sponsoring the Emory Alumni Creative Summer Solstice Party this June and the Back to School Social Party sponsored by The Social Media Panel, Frankstone looks forward to co-sponsoring the Southern Coterie Summit in Nashville this October. 

Frankstone plans for Grey Ghost Bakery to continue to grow, both in the company's geographic reach and in the its product offering. She invites people to try her cookies. “New flavors, both sweet and savory, are in the works for 2014. And look for Grey Ghost Bakery cookies on a store shelf near you!”

If you’d like to try Grey Ghost Bakery cookies, visit the website and enter promo code 10EMOR13 for an exclusive 10% discount. Offer expires 10/31/2013. Visit here to order.

Frozen Pints

Nobody could have predicted that a spilled beer would set off a chain reaction of innovation and culinary genius, but that’s exactly what happened for Frozen Pints Craft Beer Ice Cream founders Ari Fleischer 06B and Aly Moler 09B. “At a party, a friend accidentally spilled beer near a batch of ice cream we were making,” Fleischer recalls. “I just sort of watched it happen and thought, ‘why not? I love craft beer and love ice cream’. The first batch was a little soft - too much beer maybe - but the flavor was great.” This tasty surprise proved inspirational. “An idea for a gourmet business began to germinate, and before long I was deep into the testing phase of product development of beer-flavored ice cream for Frozen Pints.”

Working from his home kitchen while consulting full time with The Nielsen Company, Fleischer experimented with all types of beer to provide the flavor foundation for his ice cream. Moler was a co-worker of Fleischer ’s who inspired new flavors and taste-tested each batch.  

Once the pair had perfected the flavor balance and freezer-stable texture, Fleischer and Moler realized the economic potential for a company that sold beer-flavored ice cream. Fleischer recalls, “It was a hobby at first, but after enough positive feedback from friends and family, I decided to jump in full force. Anticipating that the legal side of things could be challenging, I began investigating that, then took a course to learn about ice cream production.”

Moler’s involvement grew over time. “I first helped with some of the branding and communication, which expanded to event planning and coordination, then decided to become more formally involved. Once I had a taste - literally - I couldn’t stop thinking about the opportunity. We not only were creating something, but it was something that had never been done before,” she says. “Ari decided to leave work to focus on it full time once we finally brought the product to market, and I realized shortly thereafter that I needed to as well. To really grow something the right way, you need to commit to it.”

The newly formed Frozen Pints hit upon a winning formula for producing top-quality ice creams with adult appeal. Because alcohol volume remains higher than 0.5 in the finished product, the company is subject to regulation of the Georgia Department of Revenue - the governing body that regulates alcoholic products in Georgia.

Industry experts are taking notice, and Frozen Pints has been nominated by the Georgia Restaurant Association for The Innovator Award for 2013. Winners will be announced this November. 

“Our philosophy is simple. We use the finest craft beers and freshest local ingredients to bring you flavor combinations you’ve never experienced before,” Fleischer says. “It’s really all about the beer. We start with a great craft beer then build a flavor around it. We never mask the delicious beery characteristics, but pair them with other creative ingredients to bring you interesting and complex flavors. It’s your childhood favorite, but all grown up.”

With pack-a-punch range of core flavors from light to dark Peach Lambic, Honey IPA, Brown Ale Chip, Cinnamon Espresso Stout, Vanilla Bock, and Malted Milk Chocolate Stout, there is a Frozen Pints flavor for every type of beer connoisseur. “Our fall seasonal flavor, Pumpkin Ale, will be available at the end of the month,” Moler says of one of their sell-out customer favorites.

Now, just over a year after their inauspicious launch, the full line of Frozen Pints beer-flavored ice cream is available at 140 locations around the metro Atlanta area and in Athens. The team also reports that their ice cream is also now available at 18 Atlanta Taco Mac restaurants. Moler adds, “Later this year we also hope to launch a collaboration line partnering with local breweries.”

The legacy of Frozen Pints flavors is spreading nationwide, appearing in esteemed publications such as The New York Times. This summer, Live! With Kelly and Michael hosts Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan taste-tested the ice creams on their syndicated morning show. As Ripa said after tasting the Malted Milk Chocolate Stout, “Oooh, that is good. That is right up my alley!” After sampling a variety, Ripa summed up her tasting experience. “We love you Frozen Pints!”

Editor's Note: To experience your own Frozen Pints taste sensation and Have Your Beer and Eat it Too™, visit the Goizueta Business School Alumni Kegs celebration during Homecoming. Register here. Sign up for “The Scoop” Frozen Pints newsletter, read their blog, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter @FrozenPints to keep updated about all things beer and ice cream.

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Michelle Valigursky