Friday, January 11, 2008

An Important Announcement from Wheeler's

Hello ice cream fans!

Since Wheeler’s Black Label Vegan Ice Cream started selling our product to the public back in October (was it really only in October? Seems like we’ve been doing this forever!), we’ve been trying our hardest to 1) create the best tasting vegan ice cream possible; 2) be an active presence that actually pays attention to the people we serve; 3) establish ourselves as an independent micro “creamery”.

While we’re pleased that the vast majority of communications we’ve received from reviewers, tasters, and food writers has been positive and encouraging, we’re also admitting in full honesty that we’ve received some “concerns”. Some of it is fair enough, and was made with good intentions, but some of it has not. And considering these critiques were coming from certain multi-million dollar ice cream companies, it’s clearly meant to intimidate us as a small, fiercely independent business.

So, in order to meet the needs and act in good faith on the requests of those who are trying to help us improve, we’re going to be making some changes to our repertoire.

Wheeler’s Black Label Vegan Ice Cream Company will officially be changing our name to Wheeler’s Frozen Dessert Company. This company will make five different types of product.

We wish to emphasize that our primary focus (Wheeler guessimated about 98%) will be on continuing to make fabulous vegan ice creams that give other non-dairy and cows-milk ice cream makers something to think about. Never fear, we’re not going to make our current flavors (even more) difficult to get a hold of. These products will run under the name Wheeler’s Black Label Frozen Desserts.

Another product we’ll be selling will be Wheeler’s Black Label Sorbets. The name is pretty self-explanatory – we’ll be producing high-quality, traditional style sorbets with the same standard of deliciousness as the vegan ice “creams” you’ve come to love.

For adults only will be Wheeler’s Private Stock Black Label Desserts. These are actually just all of our flavors that contain alcohol all dressed up in a pretty new label. Flavors in the Private Stock are modeled after popular alcoholic drinks, like Kamikaze, White Russian, and Pina Colada. We’ve separated them out officially because even though we’ve always been very clear to note which flavors contain alcohol, it never hurts to stress the point. Separating them into a different brand also gives us greater flexibility for distribution, so that vendors can choose whether or not to carry Private Stock products.

The Black Label will also acquire added significance. Now, all but two products will carry the Black Label, which will note that the product is Vegan. Now, before you get all flustered about us no longer being exclusively vegan, I’ll explain why we’ve chosen this course of action.

Backtracking a little, these next two product lines were created just to address the “concerns” of a few big corporations. They are Wheeler’s Frozen Yogurt, and Wheeler’s Ice Cream. Wheeler’s dairy line will be, to allay concerns by our loyal vegans (our very first priority), in a super small, extremely low volume, totally limited edition capacity. Wheeler’s Frozen Yogurt has been created as a response to communications we’ve received from two certain frozen yogurt companies (that rhyme with StinkBerry and Bad Tango). For these very special haters of Wheeler’s Black Label, we’re creating a small line of frozen yogurts that will actually meet the taste and quality standards Wheeler’s holds. If we are able to duplicate these flavors into a suitable vegan form, we certainly will, and they will fly under the Black Label. Until we work out the specific formulations though, assume all frozen yogurts will be dairy-based.

Now, regarding Wheeler’s (dairy) Ice Cream. We’ll basically be making it by custom request only. Why do it at all, then? Well, the number one “concern” we’ve had from non-vegans (and a few vegans too) about our vegan ice creams is that we have no right to use the word “cream” since it doesn’t contain any actual cream. They insist that we should be using the phrase “frozen dessert”. This seems nit-picky to us. We think of the words “frozen dessert”, and it could be anything (a frozen parfait, or an ice cream cake, or even a candy bar that’s been thrown in the freezer), but doesn’t necessarily imply a non-dairy ice-cream-type dessert. Wheeler believes that making a small, token quantity of dairy ice cream will quiet the critics and that yes, we do have the right to use “ice cream” as our chosen description of even our non-dairy treats.

Still reading? Good job. Thanks for staying with me this far. I know this has been a long post, but we’re optimistic about the fate of Wheeler’s Frozen Dessert Company in 2008, and are very grateful for the support and encouragement we’ve received so far. Thanks you, guys. Your regularly scheduled vegan ice cream posts will return shortly.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

So because a very few people are concerned with semantics, you're abandoning ethics?

Gusty said...

What about vegans with milk allergies? There are many of us who first became vegan out of health concerns and grew to embrace the ethical concerns as well. Will your dairy based products be run on the same equipment as the black label?! Please tell me not!

Anonymous said...

I'm very upset to hear you will be supporting animal exploitation.

madness rivera said...

Ah man, you have an entire fired-up community ready to skyrocket you to the stratosphere . . .this kinda takes the wind out of our sails, y'know? I read the post twice and I still don't really understand. I mean, why would Stink Berry and whoever else WANT you to make dairy products to compete with them? And if it's custom-made, why even cave? I couldn't figure out the legal implications that may be pressuring you . . .Sigh.

Anything cutting edge and interesting will get at least some feedback that doesn't exactly jive with the initial vision. Isn't that ok? Isn't it ok to say "We don't have a problem saying 'Vegan Ice Cream.' We give a rat's ass about non-vegan input?" We say Faux Leather. It's not leather, but you see, that's why we put "faux" in the front . . .or must we say, "Hey, my shoes are A Shiny Vinyl-y Substance . . ."? Who cares about the verbage? Because I know that no life got hurt in the process no matter what it's called.

Isn't it ok that we have something all for ourselves? Vegans are a rising, powerful, intelligent group that loves to spend our money on rising and innovative vegan companies.

Stay strong, y'all.

Daniel said...

You wrote: "Well, the number one “concern” we’ve had from non-vegans (and a few vegans too) about our vegan ice creams is that we have no right to use the word “cream” since it doesn’t contain any actual cream. They insist that we should be using the phrase “frozen dessert”. This seems nit-picky to us. We think of the words “frozen dessert”, and it could be anything (a frozen parfait, or an ice cream cake, or even a candy bar that’s been thrown in the freezer), but doesn’t necessarily imply a non-dairy ice-cream-type dessert. Wheeler believes that making a small, token quantity of dairy ice cream will quiet the critics and that yes, we do have the right to use “ice cream” as our chosen description of even our non-dairy treats."

There is no need to make dairy-based "ice cream" to satisfy the wording-critics. They are simply wrong.

A quick check of the "Online Etymology Dictionary" reveals "cream" as originating as:

"1332, from O.Fr. cresme, blend of L.L. chrisma "ointment" (from Gk. chrisma "unguent"), and L.L. cramum "cream," perhaps from Gaulish. Replaced O.E. ream. Re-borrowed from Fr. 19c., as creme. Figurative sense of "most excellent element or part" is from 1581. Verb meaning "to beat, thrash, wreck" is 1929, U.S. colloquial. Cream-cheese is from 1583."

Alas, "cream" is not necessarily derived from dairy (think "cream of wheat" - "cream" refers to the wheat, not the dairy that is sometimes added).

Though "cream" is often associated with dairy, it is not intrinsically a dairy product.

Please, please re-think this.

Thanks!

Jason Das said...

You know I love your vegan ice creams, but this is pretty disappointing news. Obviously you can make and sell whatever you want to, and lots of great vegan food comes from companies that aren't exclusively vegan. I assume you're going dairy cause there's good money in it, which is a reasonable enough motive for a business (I guess).

Your explanations above make zero sense, by the way.

Isa said...

Is this a joke?

Amy said...

I'm really confused by your explanation (or excuse) as well. I remember dairy companies pressuring soymilk makers not to use the word "milk", but we still call it soymilk. Because that was stupid.

You had a ton of support building from vegans (like me!) who had tried your ice cream-like frozen dessert product, but now I'm sure many of us are disappointed. I think you should consider maybe just NOT doing what dairy companies would like you to do.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Way to completely piss off everyone who's ever supported you. Do you think it'll be worth the ire you're earning from the ENTIRE VEGAN COMMUNITY?

nyc vegan said...

The explanations you provided on your blog are incoherent.
Any company that has the name "Vegan" in their title and who would abandon their vegan principles like a hot potato because the ice cream companies are nagging them about the word "cream" deserves nothing less than to be abandoned by the vegan community.
Also, I cannot understand why you would change your name to Wheeler's Frozen Dessert Company" when you claim that part of the reason you are including dairy products is because you object to the term "frozen desserts."
The them of this comment it: You've lost a customer. I reckon you'll be hearing a lot of this phrase in the near future.

Anonymous said...

umm so should all of the companies that produce vegan "milks" also start producing cow milk as well?

Please tell me this is a joke... I was looking forward to supporting a vegan ice cream line now I can't

Keep in mind many vegans do not buy silk because of it's association with dairy and meat production, the same ethics will be held to you and you will lose customers...

sarah said...

so, in order to quite those who say something that is vegan can't be called "ice cream" you're going to make dairy ice cream? In addition to making little to no sense this all seems like extremely flawed logic to me.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm out. My store won't be carrying this anymore. Can't imagine supporting a vegan product line with those ethics.

Miss Kris Dove said...

This move makes NO business sense. Why abandon your ethics and piss off your target market?

Valerie said...

I'm very sorry to hear that you've given up on the ethical and moral values that attracted me to your product in the first place. I was so excited about it; now I'm on the search for a new product.

Bananahead said...

Lame. I was excited about this product coming to Canada one day, but rest assured I won't be buying it. You are selling out and your logic makes no sense.

Elaine Vigneault said...

Totally weird.
Makes me think something fishy is going on here. Sorry, but it just does. It sounds really weird.
I want vegan ice cream and I don't really care what you call it but when you start confusing everyone about whether you're making vegan ices cream or dairy ice cream or frozen deserts or whatever, I get nervous.
Makes me think it's not vegan.

Anonymous said...

A) I hope this is a joke.
and
B) I never bought your vegan icecream (thoug I've seen it around), and I will continue not to buy it. You just lost a future customer! DAMN YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOU!

Kera said...

I'm disappointed in your decision to go omnivore. Even though you say it's going to be just a tiny percentage of your business, you and I both know that if we were talking about a person rather than a business Wheeler's would be vegetarian rather than vegan.

Now, I am not going to pass judgment or try to demonize your company. I don't know all the facts and I know it must be tough to have a small business. I will say I am terribly disappointed.

I'll also echo what other commentators said: your explanations make zero sense. If companies are threatening lawsuits because of the use of the word "cream" and you think it'd be more cost effective to change the word cream to frozen dessert than to fight a lawsuit, that's cool. I understand.

But I don't understand why your hand is forced to make dairy products? You're saying Stink berry wants you to get into the game? First of all, why would they? And second, so what? You make two different products. You have a unique selling point. So does Stinky berry. They are different. So why are you trying to compete with them by trying to become more like Stink berry? Doesn't sound like a winning idea. . .which makes me suspicious.

Either you're not telling us the truth, you mistyped those explanations, or you're confused about your business strategy.

I wish you luck and I hope you'll reconsider your decision to use dairy. I think you'll discover it was a very bad business and ethical choice.

Elly Blue said...

Oops, lol. Delete all comments and take it back!!

Anonymous said...

I'm very disappointed by this news, and I don't understand your logic / explanations at all. I hope this is a joke.

nogoforu said...

You said...these next two product lines were created just to address the “concerns” of a few big corporations...

Since when vegans and proud vegan companies bow down to the big business yahoos?

I can see omnivore companies producing vegan goods (they want a piece of a suddenly 'hot' business)...but, for a vegan company to take a HUGE step backwards.

WTF!?

Destiney said...

Way to totally sell out and turn yourselves into another heartless corporation. You don't even have any good excuses, so it's pretty obvious you're selling out for cash. Why should it matter if you use the word "cream?" Why should you care what non-vegans say? Screw them! You just lost the majority of your target customers.

Anonymous said...

stupid is as stupid does.

losers. literally.