McConnell's Fine Ice Creams

American Made Since 1949

Michael Palmer & Eva Ein

Santa Barbara, California
CA's original, handcrafted ice cream from Santa Barbara since 1949. Richest, creamiest, most indulgent, damned finest ice cream in the universe!

Tell us about your business.

I'm a winemaker. My wife is a chef/restaurateur here in Santa Barbara. I grew up eating McConnell's, and as did our children. When the company came available in 2012 and the owners went looking for someone to shepherd this long-time family business forward, we considered the opportunity. In the process of deciding whether or not to come onboard, we did as deep a dive into artisan ice cream as we could - a coast-to-coast trial of the best of the best. Our conclusion? That McConnell's is by all objective measures the finest ice cream in the business. The added bonus? The incredible and unique story behind California's original and finest heritage ice cream brand. Our objective? To (finally )create a culture around McConnell's that goes beyond California's Central Coast and to tell this story to a public who deserves to know about this uniquely exceptional product

What makes your business stand out?

We operate at all levels of the business - we are purveyors, manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers. In a veritable sea of nouveau artisan creameries, McConnell's is the "frozen gold standard" (WSJ). We use the finest ingredients in the business. Many of our purveyors are multi-decade partners and represent best-in-class companies in their categories. We are the highest butterfat (18.5% vs. the typical 14%) and highest density (only 10% overrun air by volume vs. other artisan brands' 35%) in the business. While most artisan brands make their ice cream in a batch freezer (similar to how restaurants make ice cream), we do not since batch cannot produce the product our proprietary Hybrid French Pot (invented by Gordon McConnell in '47) produces. Finally, the secret sauce? Our recipes, and the combined efforts of our Master Ice Cream Maker, Mike Vierra (at McC's for nearly 35 years) and our chef, Eva Ein. We are obsessive. We are perfectionists.

What's the best business advice you've received?

Do the little things that make your business work right. And do them right every day. And never, ever, ever compromise on your vision.

Mark Your Calendar

  • Nominations
    June 3–Aug. 29, 2014

    Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.

  • Judging
    June 23–Sept. 9, 2014

    Judges will select finalists throughout this period.

    Meet the judges
  • Online Voting
    Sept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014

    Vote for your favorite American makers.

    Vote now
  • Winners Announced
    Oct. 17, 2014

    2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.

    See past Award Winners
  • American Made Event
    Nov. 7–8, 2014

    Join us for our annual event in New York City.

    Buy tickets now

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