How A Father And Son Teamed Up to Infuse The Family Ice Business with Cannabis
Last winter at MJBizCon in Las Vegas, the longest line at the convention was for a tiny Italian ice stall, where two guys shoveled free samples of cherry, mango, and lemon ices into little cups. The guys were Al and Troy Everetts, a father-and-son team from Pennsylvania. And the product they were serving for the first time ever was called Mt. Everetts Frozen Creations -- traditional Italian ices infused with nontraditional CBD.
This was the last place on Earth the two ever expected to be -- at a marijuana convention 2,500 miles from the family’s Italian ice and custard shop in the small town of Kingston.
How they got there and why is a story of a good idea, good timing, and very good recipes.
Rocky Mountain High
The idea for Mt. Everetts Frozen Creations was hatched by Troy, 24, during a road trip to Denver with his girlfriend (now wife). Troy had never been to Colorado, and he was blown away by all the recreational pot shops and offerings. “I saw, like, 20 brands of edible chocolate there,” he says. “Business was crazy. It was just booming.”
When he returned home, he told his father, Al, about what he’d seen. Al describes himself as “an R&D guy who’s been making ices for 25 years.” He’s a VP at Rosati Ice and owns a local Italian ice shop called Josie’s on South Wyoming Avenue.
Troy said, “Dad, let’s see if we can get into this business.”
Al was skeptical. He was an Italian ice guy; what did he know from cannabis? He had very little personal experience with the plant, although he did have memories of his older brother talking to him about it in the ’70s. “I was 12, and he was 17,” Al says. “He was always reading High Times. He’d say, ‘I’m telling you, Al, this should be legal. It’s good for you.’”
Despite his early doubts, Al loved his son and admired his enthusiasm, so he agreed to go to Colorado “to wrap my head around it.” He, too, was impressed by the business, so he started doing research and asking around. “Everybody kept coming back to me saying, ‘Listen, you’ll never get the [CBD] oil in the water. Good luck. Go ahead and try it,’” Al recalls.
Undeterred, Al set off to do what he does best. ”I just spent a lot of time testing things and working with different ingredients,” he says.
Because CBD oil is expensive, he did lots of calculations and mixing processes on paper and in his head before he put oil to ice. After six weeks, Al concocted the perfect process and formula for CBD-infused ice.
“I break the oil up into real small particles, almost like nanoparticles,” Al says. He believes the process gives the ice more bang for the buck and increases its therapeutic effectiveness.
Al created three flavors: lemon, which he describes as the most traditional, the one most everybody does on street corners in New York; mango, which he says has taken off in popularity in the past 20 years; and cherry, a tried-and-true favorite.
After perfecting his formula, Al sent the ices off to a lab in California to be tested.
“I’ll never forget the response,” he says. “They called me, and for the first minute, they must have said the F-word, like, 10 times. They said, ‘We melted it. We froze it. We beat it up, and your numbers are spot on. You’re real consistent.’ They told me I should go teach some of the bigger companies how to be more consistent.”
In cannabis, consistency is king. When people like a product, they want it to taste the same and make them feel the same every time.
The lab went on to test his product for pesticides and again were surprised that it came out completely negative.
With the winning formula complete, the next challenge was raising enough money to start the business. This is when a second father-son team (who remain anonymous) stepped in to partner with the Everettses. Those investors introduced them to Two Roots, a major cannabis-infused-beer company, which invited them to Las Vegas to debut their new product. They set up an ice stand, and within minutes a long line of convention-goers snaked around the hall.
Ice, Ice Baby
Troy admits to being overwhelmed by the response at MJBizCon, saying, “We weren’t sure how the ice was going to do on the West Coast. They don’t really know what Italian ice is out there. But people went crazy. They wanted to get orders ASAP.”
To date, the Everettses have shipped orders to dispensaries in Colorado, Florida, and Nevada. They sell the product online but, at this point, only to people on the East Coast.
Al is thrilled with the early success, but he’s even more thrilled to be working with his son.
“It’s great,” he says. “We work well together because he has his strengths and I have mine. He’s a marketing guy; he’s the social media guy. You know these young kids with the computers and everything. Put me in the kitchen. That’s where I’m going to go.”