Opening our Red Hook Factory
August 2 2018
Years ago, we dreamed of opening an ice cream factory—and not just because we needed more space to bake ooey gooey butter cake. We wanted to create a place where people from all over the world could come together, share a scoop and learn the magic behind making ice cream. Dedicated to celebrating our favorite frozen dessert, our one-of-a-kind ice cream factory would be so much more than a production facility; it would be a place for ice cream lovers of all ages to explore and indulge. Finally the paint is dry, the AC is on and (drum roll please) the doors are open! Thanks to the hard work of our friends, family and Amployees, our dream has come true. On Thursday, July 26th, 2018, we opened our Red Hook Factory.
Clocking in at 15,000sq ft, our Red Hook Factory is the largest ice cream production facility in New York City and complete with a scoop shop and an interactive ice cream museum. For perspective on the size, until now, we made all of our ice cream and mix-ins in our 1,000sq ft Gowanus scoop shop. Our Red Hook Factory is a whopping 15 times larger! Within the walls of this state of the art factory, we’ll be baking brownies, packing pints and churning over 500,000 gallons of ice cream a year. That’s 10 times more ice cream than before—all the more reason to never feel shy when asking for a sample.
With all this new capability, we wanted to experiment with new flavors; this is where you come in! At our Red Hook Factory, you have the opportunity to invent your own Ample Hills flavor. Just share a story with us. After all, at Ample Hills, we believe that every flavor tells a story. You could say that stories are our secret ingredient. To create a flavor the Ample Hills way (story first, flavor later), we built a larger than life 8ft magnetic book where you imagine your own flavor inspired by your own story. All you have to do is snag a card, think of a story only you can tell, draw your perfect cone and stick it on the page. Think of it like a traditional flavor suggestion board, just with an Ample Hills edge. What’s a story only you can tell? Don’t be afraid to get creative. We’ll churn our favorites into reality.
Perhaps the most exciting part of opening our Red Hook Factory is unveiling our interactive ice cream museum. We want to educate every visitor on the colorful history of ice cream, the secrets behind how we make our ice cream and how science helps us churn the perfect scoop.
Equal parts education and exploration, we’ve embraced an experiential approach to learning. From a scavenger hunt for all ages to a trolley that chugs along at the push of a button, there are tons of things to learn and discover. But we’re most excited to debut our spoons! Our spoons are a one-of-a-kind installment that explore the history of ice cream’s creation and are designed to make learning memorable by engaging the imagination and the senses (oh yes, we even have a spoon that’s smelly).
The centerpiece of our museum is a gorgeous, hand painted 22ft tall 3-D map of Brooklyn. Brooklyn has always been and will always be our home. Throughout the map, you’ll find tributes to both Brooklyn today and times gone by (like Ebbets Field, Kentile Floors and yes, even a dinosaur).
But beyond celebrating our community, our map is also a playground. Things light up! There’s a trolley you can control with the push of a button! You can even crawl through the Battery Tunnel and find the sunken treasure, hidden by our founders Brian and Jackie themselves! Dedicated to the people that built our thriving community, this is a map you can get lost in. We want everyone in our community to have the opportunity to get in on the fun; that’s why admission to the museum is free.
We can’t have an ice cream museum without any ice cream. Our Red Hook Factory has a scoop shop as well as its own shop-specific flavor. Each of our scoop shops features its own flavor that tells a story about the neighborhood. Our Red Hook Factory’s shop-specific flavor honors the many people that have made their home in Red Hook before us; telling the story of how a community is built over centuries, by each person who has ever stepped foot there. For the industrial history of Red Hook, we use a burnt sugar base (inspired by the Revere Sugar Factory), salty fudge bites for the many sailors (“salty dogs”) and stroopwafels for Dutch settlers! With subtle nods to so many moments in Red Hook’s vivid history, The Hook tells the story of the many people who have lived in Red Hook before us. Come try a scoop, we’ll hook it up.
The Hook is a burnt sugar ice cream with salty fudge bites and Dutch stroopwafels!
Years in the making, our Red Hook Factory was truly a team effort. Building this 15,000sq ft ice cream factory was no small feat, but we got lucky; we were surrounded by passionate people that believed in our little idea just as much as we did. We owe a huge “thank you” to the Amployees, friends and family who pitched in over the years. Without their endless effort, our Red Hook Factory would only exist in our imagination. Now it’s here, it’s real and we’re excited to share it with you. It was thrilling to see so many people just as excited as we are! We were overwhelmed by all the enthusiasm from Eater, CBS This Morning, Food & Wine, Grub Street, Time Out New York and so much more. But even more moving was to see the joy from the community. On opening day, the line formed way before we even opened the doors. To mark this milestone, we gave ice cream away (the first 100 scoops were on us).
Walt Whitman’s Crossing Brooklyn Ferry didn’t just inspire our name. It’s also inspired our values. This powerful poem explores the connection between people across time, and we think that connection isn’t just important—it’s essential! By referencing Whitman’s work in our name, we hope to show that something as simple as ice cream can bring people together. Ice cream can be so much more than milk, cream, sugar and eggs. We hope that visiting our Red Hook Factory is a new, special way that you can spend time with friends and family, share laughter and find connection; let us be the backdrop for your new favorite memory.
August 2 2018