Gifford’s Ice Cream has started making ice cream again at its Skowhegan, Maine, plant for the first time in a year. This milestone arrives shortly after the one-year anniversary of the destructive fire that swept through the ice cream company’s production facility, causing extensive damage and forcing it to stop production and seek help from out-of-state co-packers in order to meet customer demand. 

“Nothing can prepare you for what we experienced on February 2 last year,” said Gifford’s Ice Cream CEO, Lindsay Skilling. “The damage was so extensive we had to take most of our factory and offices down to the studs. It has been a year of pivoting and problem-solving. We can say now that the path forward hasn’t always been clear. But we never questioned our commitment to coming back stronger and better than ever. We’re not at full production capacity yet, and we’ll be working hard to build our production capabilities and inventory levels over the next several months, but I can say it feels great to be making our own ice cream again in Skowhegan.” 

To get back up and running, the family-owned ice cream company has carved out a smaller production area—roughly 30% of what its actual production area will be once the factory is fully restored—and has two lines running to produce quarts and bulk flavors for its wholesale customers. Meanwhile, Gifford’s continues to rebuild its offices and larger production area. The production plan currently prioritizes fan favorite flavors that the co-packer partners were not able to make in 2023 like Toasted Coconut and Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt.

In order to supply its own family-owned ice cream and partner stands, as well as retail and food service channels following the fire, Gifford’s had to partner with four co-packers to produce its ice cream. The co-packers were able to make 30 of Gifford’s popular flavors, but many fan favorites like the two mentioned above could not be made. 

“We can only make certain flavors here because the process we use to make some of our bases and ripples can’t be duplicated elsewhere. Our first run of Toasted Coconut and Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt should start to hit grocery stores by mid-March,” said JC Gifford, COO of Gifford’s Ice Cream. “This is a first step in our journey to get these long-awaited flavors back into the hands of our customers. We’re incredibly grateful to our co-packers. We can’t thank them enough for their support last year. Without them there wouldn’t have been any Gifford’s ice cream.” 

Over the next several months, Gifford’s will continue to bring production in-house and wind down reliance on co-packers in order to build the company’s inventory levels for all its distribution channels while working to restore full production capabilities by the end of 2024.

About Gifford’s HomeMaine Ice Cream 
Gifford’s HomeMaine Ice Cream is a fifth-generation, family-owned company that still makes ice cream the old-fashioned way – from scratch, with fresh milk and cream from local dairy farms. Gifford’s uses antique Cherry Burrell freezers to slow churn the most delicious, creamy ice cream possible. The company has earned numerous international and national “First Place” and “World’s Best” awards for its premium ice cream, frozen yogurt and sherbet, and is the official ice cream of the New England Patriots, Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics, Maine Celtics and the Portland Sea Dogs. As New England’s ice cream, the company sells its products throughout New England and its family-owned ice cream stands in Maine.