5 things you didn’t know about Graeter’s, the Ohio ice cream-maker since 1868

Louis Graeter began selling ice cream at neighborhood street markets when he moved to the Cincinnati in 1868, and thus began the Graeter’s brand.

Graeter’s has been known for (among other things) its massive chocolate chips.

Here are five other things to know about the Cincinnati-based ice cream franchise.



1. French pot method. Under the operation of the fourth generation of the Graeter family, Graeter's egg custard-based ice cream is made the same way Louis did in the 1800s. All ingredients are pasteurized, cooked and combined in a flavor vat and then frozen in 2.5 gallon batches in French Pot freezers.

Graeter’s now is the only commercial ice cream manufacture anywhere in the world to use the French Pot method and its batches are the smallest in the industry. The original plant in Mount Auburn had only four pots, while the current facility in Bond Hill has 36 French Pots running day and night to keep up with the demand.

2. Packed by hand. The ice cream is too thick to pump into pint containers as is common, so Graeter's does it the old fashioned way – by hand. On a typical day, the company hand-packs nearly 20,000 pints with its fastest packers averaging up to 15 pints a minute.

3. Sneaky addition. Louis Graeter's son, Wilmer, snuck some chocolate from his mother and poured it into a pot of frozen ice cream, inventing Graeter's chocolate chunks. The chunks are created from melted chocolate mixed with a small amount of vegetable oil and added into a spinning pot when the ice cream is almost completely frozen. It spins for a few minutes to harden into a shell and then is scraped off by hand with a paddle into the ice cream, creating different sized chunks.

4. Expanding the brand. Of the 53 Graeter's retail stores, 22 are in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, with three in the Dayton area and 11 in Columbus. The farthest locations are in Chicago (two of them) and Pittsburgh, but the company ships pints nationwide — more than 300,000 annually for online mail order sales. Graeter's also can be found in more than 6,000 grocery stores in 46 states.

5. Full of flavor. Louis started the business with vanilla and chocolate ice cream, and Graeter's now offers 13 chip flavors, eight classic flavors and a variety of seasonal options, plus low glycemic and sorbet offerings. Black raspberry chip, made with black raspberries from Oregon's Willamette Valley and gourmet bittersweet chocolate chips, is the most popular flavor and the all-time best seller, the company said.



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