Kemps heats up in Roch.
Here's a little bit from a piece I have in today's print edition:
"It has been busy," says Rochester Kemps Ice Cream Plant Manager Mike Hanisch of 2007 with understatement dripping from his words.
Topping the list of new projects is the $2.5 million addition of a new production line. And its addition is not a small thing, though the name of the product rolling off it is Ittibitz.
"What we’re doing there, nobody else does it in the world," says Hanisch. "The only familiar part is that we use ice cream mix."
However, Ittibitz does look familiar. The "pelletized" ice cream specialty looks like Dipping Dots ice cream pellets or beads.
While Kemps acknowledges the similarities, they say one key difference.
"It can travel and be stored at normal ice cream temps," says Rachel Kyllo, vice president of marketing for Kemps.
On the other hand, Dippin’ Dots is flash frozen using liquid nitrogen and must be kept at temperatures below zero.
In the couple months the Kemps production line has been at full speed, it has been making 5,000 cases a week. Each case has 48 cups.
"We assume it will eventually be 15,000 a week," says Hanisch. It is staffed by 12 people.
Meanwhile, another new product is also being made in Rochester, thanks to the plant being certified as organic.
It is producing sherbets and juice bars made with organic fruit for Cascadian Farm, a company based in Washington state.
"This is a brand new initiative. It gives the plant a wonderful frozen dessert option it didn’t have before, especially with the dramatic growth of organic food category," said Kyllo.
Production started June 1 and products are just starting to ship out.
"We’ve made just 100,000 cups so far," said Hanisch.
Don’t look for the sherbet in Rochester yet. It is only available at Kowalski’s, Byerly’s and Lunds stores.