Entrepreneur Wants To Sell Un-Frozen Artisanal Ice Cubes

Last fall, we learned that artisanal ice cubes were an actual thing. Bars charge $1 extra for them, and they supposedly melt more slowly, leading to a less watery beverage experience and bragging rights. They cost about $1 per giant cube, and here’s the weird part: they ship unfrozen.

Wait, what? Why would anyone ship pre-frozen ice to customers, defeating the entire point of buying ice? With artisanal ice cubes, the point isn’t the temperature: freezers are very common, but it’s the formula of the water that’s important for creating ice free of clouds, bubbles, and contaminants.

This new venture has an interesting background: it’s named after the American “Ice King” of the 19th century, Frederic Tudor, who found a way to preserve and ship massive blocks of ice from New England all over the world during the pre-refrigeration era. One of Tudor’s descendants is an investor in this new venture, and happened to have already trademarked the name “Tudor Ice Company.”

Here’s the $5.99 question, though: are the un-frozen ice cubes any good? They’re sold in 6-packs that cost $5.99, which is not cheap, but if you’re buying artisanal ice cubes, you’re probably not very cost-conscious to start with. Bloomberg News froze up some samples, and they found them cloudy. Boo. They’ll have to be flawless in order to get anyone interested in this product.

Going Clear: Artisanal Ice [Bloomberg News]

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:
The Man Who Shipped New England Ice Around the World
The Development of the Ice Trade [PBS]