The 22-year old entrepreneur unveiled Betty’s Ice Cream brown lemonade ice cream flavour at a special event at the Barge restaurant on the Lagan.
Bethany, who set up Betty’s Ice Cream last year, was searching for a new flavour for her portfolio of ice creams when a customer suggested brown lemonade, once a popular soft drink in Belfast in the forties and fifties.
Her research revealed that brown lemonade became popular at the historic Harland and Wolff’s sprawling shipyards following a management ban on alcohol due to potential safety hazards.
“Brown lemonade was a big thing in industrial Belfast, especially within the shipyards because after alcohol was banned, brown lemonade was brought in for the workers as it looked like ale. It’s a unique flavour,” Bethany said.
Clear lemonade, she continues, was dyed with brown sugar or molasses from the Caribbean to make it look like ale. The lemonade was subsequently produced by C&C in Belfast and Maine in Ballymoney.
Bethany also sought guidance from chef Brian Magill at the South Eastern Regional College in Bangor on the development of flavour profile for use in ice cream. A former head chef at the five-star Culloden Hotel, Brian has vast experience in new product development.
“My first thought was to buy a bottle of brown lemonade and pour it into a mixture but that just wasn’t going to work,” Bethany continues. Brian helped her to look into what went into the drink itself and see how it could work in ice cream.
“We saw the trend among shoppers especially for local food products, and it started the family thinking about products that we could create that would also provide some support for local dairy farmers,” Bethany said.
“Everyone in the area was hugely supportive and keen to enjoy the ice cream that we subsequently produced. This enthusiasm, especially from my parents and wider family, helped enormously as I worked to create a really different ice cream.”