John Clopton, Frostbite Gourmet Ice Cream, One to Watch January 2012
by Julia Paulus
As children, John Clopton and his brother spent summer days sitting on their back porch and anxiously awaiting the final product as their father churned ice cream. So when ice cream lover Clopton developed lactose intolerance a few years ago, his nostalgia for the homemade treat sparked an idea. He bought an ice cream maker and began making his own lactose-free ice cream. “After a lot of experimenting, I began to make it for family and friends,” he says. “They suggested I sell it on the side.”
Although Clopton continues to support himself as a web designer, he launched Frostbite Gourmet Ice Cream one year ago so that other St. Louisans could try his locally made product. “I would go to Saint Louis Coworking and Nebula Coworking and drop off flavors to see how they would go over,” says Clopton. “I would also take flavor suggestions. It was marketing, and I saw what would work for people. Now I have a set of flavors that I will always have and seasonal flavors.”
While Clopton developed flavors, he stayed dedicated to local, healthful alternatives. “On top of being lactose-free, I substitute honey from Iowa for sugar,” he says. “I also use as many local products as possible, like produce from farmers markets, beer from Six Row Brewing Co., Chauvin Coffee and Askinosie Chocolate.”
Today Clopton blends old techniques with new ideas. Though he uses a wooden churn, ice and rock salt to make his ice cream, he plans to sell his products online. “Coming soon I will be taking orders online and delivering to the door by tricycle like in the past,” says Clopton. “I am starting with my neighborhood, Lafayette Square, and hope to expand from there.”
Other innovative initiatives by Clopton include staying green by using gas-free tricycles and only recyclable or compostable packaging.
(Photo by Bill Sawalich)