2017 was an eventful year at Ample Hills—we raised some serious equity to finish building our Red Hook factory. We opened two new stores and released nearly forty new flavors. In the spring we opened our highly anticipated location in the new Dekalb Market Hall, and in November we unveiled our first shop outside New York City, inside the Jersey City Urby Building. Both of these locations are open year-round and boast their own exclusive flavors: Harry & Eigel’s Marbled & Marbled at Dekalb and The Golden Door at Jersey City. If you haven’t tried these two flavors yet, they’re worth the trip!
In addition to new shops, in 2017 we have made it a priority to give back to our community, and to the organizations that work so hard to preserve and protect it. We began hosting monthly “Pints & Postcards” events at our Gowanus shop, working with amazing organizations like The Center, Planned Parenthood, Fwd.us and New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.
This year we made ice cream flavors inspired by toast, The New England Patriots, Adam and Eve, Miss Saigon and The Summer of Love. We hosted 266 birthday parties, offered over 500,000 samples and topped the year off with over 625 lbs of sprinkles. We collaborated with Food & Wine, the New York Rangers and of course, Star Wars. We celebrated our sixth anniversary with our annual Sell-Out Celebration, gave away over 150 scoops at the opening of our Jersey City location and welcomed 111 people to the illustrious Hillionaires Club.
We are so grateful for the continued support and patience as we grow, and we’re equally excited to share all we have planned for 2018. But before we look forward, let’s take a look at the Ample Hills sweetness of 2017.
Best NEW flavor: Summer of Love
Cupcakes make the world a great place. If you add some Ample Hills ice cream to your cupcake, the world is even a better place! This summer we did just that! In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, we partnered with Baked by Melissa to create a beautiful union, and the best new ice cream flavor of 2017. Summer of Love was a sweet cream ice cream with pieces of Baked by Melissa’s signature Tie-Dye cupcakes. And there was no better time to get in touch with your inner hippie. Summer of Love was available at all Ample Hills locations and in half-pints at selected Baked by Melissa locations across the New York metropolitan area. We can’t wait to bring the flavor back!
Best Mix-In: Popcorn Toffee
Ample Hills and Big Apple Circus partnered to create a flavor inspired by the fun foods we all associate with days at the circus. A sweet cream ice cream with popcorn toffee and red sugar-toasted peanuts aptly named Big Ample Circus. The popcorn brittle was the mix-in of the year created by our master baker, Jazmin! All the best circus snacks in one creamy scoop successfully transported us back to a childhood day at the circus.
Best Boozy Flavor: I'll Drink To That!
The new year marks the return of everyone’s favorite sorbet! I’ll Drink To That! is made with grapefruit, ginger and sparkling wine—and we mean a lot of sparkling wine. I’ll Drink To That! will be available beginning this Saturday (12/30) at our New York and New Jersey locations. Whether you’re floating a scoop in a cocktail on New Year’s Eve or having some “hair of the dog” the morning after—don’t miss your chance to try this simultaneously festive and restorative sorbet. It won’t last long!
Best Packaging: Star Wars
The force was strong this year at Ample Hills. When we got the chance to pay tribute to one of the greatest film series of all time, we decided to create not just one delicious flavor, but three scrumptious limited-time Star Wars themed ice creams! Each pint container pays homage to themes and beloved characters of the Star Wars universe—in flavor and design! Our art and design team (comprised of just two people, mind you) worked tirelessly to make these flavors and their packaging worthy of our follow-up to the Star Wars pints we sold two years ago.
In addition to three custom ice cream pints, this ice cream is shipped in a special Star Wars-themed box that includes a punch-out X-Wing. Our Star Wars ice cream will be available for a little while longer, so don’t miss your chance to try these flavors, check out the packaging and build your own X-Wing!
I Wait All Year For: Festival of Lights
Hanukkah is only once a year but each year we look forward to our “Festival of Lights”. This year was extra special as we partnered with the kings of rugelach, Court Street Grocers for an out of this world raspberry (with raisins!) rugelach as a mix-in for this much-desired flavor. Festival of lights is a cream cheese ice cream with pieces of raspberry rugelach. We can’t wait to see CSG’s creation next year.
Best Sign: Beyoncé Chalkboard
All hail the queen! Yes folks, Beyoncé came to Ample Hills … and stole the show! Ok maybe she wasn’t at Ample Hills physically but she was there in spirit (and on our chalkboard). A masterpiece by our very own art director, Lauren Kaelin. Beyonce definitely broke the news this year with twins; it was only right we celebrated her joy with two scoops at our OG location, Vanderbilt!
Best Collaboration: The View
We collaborated with some amazing organizations, companies, teams and TV shows this year and made some amazing flavors ( The Hat Trick, War & Pieces, Sugar & Spice and Women’s Rights, I Wanna Rocky Road All Night, and more!). But our absolute favorite was the first of the year when we celebrated The View. We love to tell stories with our ice cream and when tasked with telling the story of The View we thought about how we could honor a show that’s basically about everything and comes from everybody’s perspective. But how do you pick a singular point of view for a flavor of ice cream? That was the challenge until we realized that was also the story. You don’t pick just one point of view. Sometimes you’re in the mood for chocolate, sometimes you’re in the mood for cake, sometimes you want something salty, or really really sweet, like a marshmallow. When you put all of these points of view together, magic happens—just like what happens when the strong, opinionated, intelligent women of The View express themselves, as they have for the past 20 years. The View 20 was an incredibly smooth, fluffy chocolate marshmallow ice cream that included pieces of our housemade ooey gooey butter cake, Salted Crack cookies & fudge brownies. And even though the flavor was incredible on its own, we added a bonus that a portion of the proceeds of The View 20 flavor would be donated to First Book, a nonprofit that provides new books to educators and organizations serving children from low-income families.
Best New Party Space: Jersey City
We crossed the river and opened up shop in Jersey City this year! This new location boasts 16 flavors, an ice cream-making kitchen, and one of the largest party spaces in Ample Hills history. This incredible space is equipped with an ice cream churning bicycle, seating for 20+ and a 15 x 20 feet hand painted mural by art director, Lauren Kaelin. Worth booking your very own party today! For all ages!
Best New Neighbors: Dekalb Market Hall
Something that makes our new Dekalb Market location so very special are the amazing neighbors we open our doors to every single day. Showcasing 40 vendors who reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the borough, Dekalb Market Hall is raising Brooklyn’s profile as a hub of innovative cooking and dining experiences. Dekalb Market Hall is one of the largest food and entertainment centers in New York City and we are so proud to be among some wonderful vendors! Visit us and try a cone of our newest exclusive neighborhood-inspired flavor: Harry & Eigel's Marbled & Malted. That’s chocolate malted ice cream with pieces of Junior's marbled cheesecake and crushed malted milk balls. (Only available at Dekalb Market Hall.)
Biggest Upset: Pome-garita Ville
One of the shocking Ample Hills moments of 2017 was a sorbet making it to the final round of Flavor Frenzy 2017! We hadn’t been this shocked since another election that we won’t discuss. Pome-garita Ville was a sorbet made of with pomegranate, tequila, corona, lime and orange, and had a victory over PB Melts With You, 51% over 49%. While Pome-garita Ville was ultimately unable to clinch the title, losing in the final round to Cookie au Lait, we couldn’t believe that a sorbet advanced so far! Stay tuned for next year’s Flavor Frenzy—in March, 16 retired flavors will go head-to-head for a chance to return to the dipping cabinet.
Best Video: Sprinkle Bae
It was hard to keep up with ALL the social media break out stars of 2017, but Ample Hills had our very own break out star, Sprinkle Bae. Inspired by everyone’s favorite mustachio-ed meme, Salt Bae, Scoop Master Jason really knocked this video out of the dipping cabinet and into one of the most-liked social posts of 2017. There can never be enough Sprinkle Bae!
Best Way To Give Back: Pints & Postcards
As we mentioned, In 2017 we have made it a priority to give back to our community and several community-supporting organizations. Each month we are partnering with worthwhile and hard working organizations that defend the values we care deeply about. In addition to donating a portion of pint sales to the charity, we also donate our Gowanus shop space, hosting monthly Pints & Postcards gatherings in which we welcome everyone to join us, write a postcard and hear how to help and stay involved from the month's organization.
This year Pints & Postcards gatherings were held in Gowanus from 6-8pm. There was time for comments, questions, postcard writing and, of course, some ice cream. Thanks to our neighbors Baba’s Pierogies for providing the most delicious pierogies each month. We raised, as a community, over $1500 for some of these incredible organizations:
“Hailey’s Comet” Award: Gather ‘Round The Campfire Class
Classes at Ample Hills are one of the best experiences in New York. One of our most beloved flavors, Gather ‘Round the Campfire, came to life this fall in a masterclass taught by our co-founder, Brian Smith. At this rare event, students created a chocolate-covered graham cracker mix-in and churned their own toasted marshmallow ice cream. We even bought blow-torches for each student to roast their marshmallows. We can’t wait to announce new and exciting classes for 2018!
And that’s all for our look back at the best moments of 2017! Please stay tuned in the new year for more updates on our exciting growth, as we continue creating new favorite flavors, throwing the best ice cream parties around, and giving back to our community. Thank you all so much for your steadfast support, and we wish you a happy new year full of Ample ice cream and delight!