The familiar “I scream, you scream” chant applies here – frozen dessert lovers across the country scream for Billy Goat Ice Cream Co.
Rashaun Robinson, Billy Goat’s founder, president and CEO, was inspired by the health benefits of goat’s milk to appeal to a wide variety of tastes, with flavors like bourbon vanilla bean, coffee cacao chip, dark chocolate, garden mint, salted caramel, blueberry ginger and roasted strawberry balsamic.
“By using goat’s milk instead of cow’s milk, we’ve created a succulent experience that’s perfectly suited for those with lactose sensitivity,” Robinson says. “By using all-natural ingredients and supporting our local farmers, we’ve created a dessert that’s good for the body, the belly and the planet.
“Goat’s milk has more vitamins and is much lower in lactose, and I thought we needed to carry all of this into making America’s favorite dessert.”
A vacuum existed in the marketplace between traditional dairy ice cream and what the Food and Drug Administration classifies as a frozen dessert, made from such ingredients as almond milk and coconut milk but in which the primary ingredient is actually water, he says.
“We fill that void as an option for those sensitive to cow dairy or who are lactose intolerant,” Robinson says. “We fall in the middle, while bringing that familiar taste and texture of ice cream, but with added health benefits and being lower in calories than traditional ice cream.”
Robinson says the steady success of his product also comes from the “simple, superior, clean ingredients prominently listed on the package” to demonstrate the lack of questionable or chemical-laden additives.
From its first sale in Stillwater’s Hampton Inn four years ago to its placement across Oklahoma at Sprouts Farmers Markets, Whole Foods and Natural Grocers, Billy Goat Ice Cream has grown to include distribution in California, Florida, Colorado, Texas and, most recently, Michigan.
“The growth has been astounding in a short time and I think it speaks to the demand,” Robinson says.
Three or four employees, depending upon the season, produce the ice cream, and everyone – including friends and family – are eager to try out flavors as they’re developed.
“We’ve got some new flavors to release next year, but it’s top secret at this point,” Robinson says with a laugh. “That is a fun part of this – the research and development where creativity factors in. And pallets continue to change … so it’s lots of fun to try variations. And yes, there are always a lot of volunteers for the taste trials.”
The business derived from the entrepeneurship program at Oklahoma State University.
“We are really proud of being from Oklahoma because we offer something for those who want a different selection and those who take a lot of value in the health realm,” Robinson says. “We get great feedback – like a recent call from a mother in Kansas thanking us for creating a product their lactose-intolerant child can enjoy.
“Making this ice cream is pure fun – it’s bringing something wonderful to the masses. We’re here to show that an alternative to traditional dairy doesn’t have to be coconut or soy. Goat’s milk is a better option … and it’s locally made.”