Updated: Tuesday, 4:37 p.m.
"Remain calm. All is well."
Those words from Graeter's Twitter account came Tuesday at about 4 p.m. ET, ending the Tri-State's 24-hour panic over the local ice cream retailer temporarily halting production of its Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip flavor due to production issues.
Remain Calm. All is well.
We are back in production of Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip today! Most stores will have it by the weekend and all stores will be back in stock no later than Tuesday. Thank you for your patience. pic.twitter.com/Oh8iYm42KI
— Graeter's Ice Cream (@graeters) October 8, 2019
Graeter's CEO Rich Graeter confirmed what fans of Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip discovered over the past week—that an increasing number of stores in the Tri-State are out of the popular flavor because of a manufacturing issue.
Graeter's, with retail locations in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Pennsylvania, says a Cincinnati manufacturer, David Evans Foods, went out of business in August and the ice cream company is currently unable to process black raspberries.
"We get black raspberry fruit from Oregon," Graeter says. "We get that once a year from the farmers after the crop comes in. But after we get that, we basically have to concentrate it, cook some of the water out of it, so it has the right sweetness."
On Monday, Graeter's had a solution. A cousin of the CEO is in California and was working with a processor there. It is unclear if this is the processor who helped bring the flavor back to life.
Grocery suppliers have an adequate supply. When Graeter's knew there was going to be a problem, it funneled much of of the supply to Kroger and others. It's the retail stores where there is a shortage.
Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip is the most popular flavor at Graeter's, selling twice as much as the second-place flavor, Mint Chocolate Chip. In fact, Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip makes up 20-25% of the company's sales.
How then, can fans deal until the shortage is fixed? Graeter says use this as an excuse to try something new. "We make a Black Cherry Chocolate Chip which is kind of similar. We've got lots of flavors."