An 'Old Favorite' from the past...
Atois Kepler arrived in the USA in August of 1851 from Israel. He had few skills... having only worked in two restaurants in the old country... First as a dishwasher and bus boy, and from there he managed to become a waiter, and finally a cook. By 1848 he had heard enough about America that he set his sights on moving to the 'land of opportunity'.
On a trip to Italy as a young boy Atois is introduced to, and grew to love the taste of what the street vendors referred to as "Fruit Icy's", which were nothing more than shaved ice covered with a sweet fruity syrup. Today we call them "Snow Cones".
In the old days, because of the scarcity of ice... vendors had to purchase blocks of ice from men who were willing to venture into Italy's mountains, and not only cut the blocks, but they had to transport them many miles in order to sell them to vendors. It was a tedious process, because ice was a rare commodity even when the weather cooperated.
In 1851 when Atois first came to America, there was little employment for new arrivals, and after living off his savings for nearly a year... he finally gave up on acquiring a restaurant position.
Restaurants, even in the big cities were few and far between, and their customers were limited to those that could afford to dine out, or... in some cases, military personnel who were compensated for their service at local restaurants from time to time. Needless to say, work in the food service trade was almost non-existent. However, Atois was young and resourceful, and was dedicated to his pursuit of the American Dream by all means.
early 1852 Atois saw that weekends and holidays in the big city were a time for Americans to get together at local parks and museums, and that the idea of "picnicking" was catching on. He wondered about setting himself up in his own food stand, but quickly discounted that idea because most families brought along their own food for these events.
That's when it struck him like a bolt of lightning... Maybe he could cultivate a buying audience who would be just as thrilled as he was by those "Fruit Icy's" that he enjoyed in Italy as a child. Atois built himself a small wagon and set up his own drink stand from spring until early fall, naming his product "Arctic Ice", and it was successful right from the start.
Then by a stroke of luck, steam operated refrigeration and ice making machines started to become available, and by 1856 his drink stand was nearly self-sufficient, allowing him to spend the entire day at the park selling his unique drinks.
Atois Kepler became a prime example of what it is like to "make it" in America, and since that time the product that he helped make famous has evolved into what we know and love tody as "The Snow Cone"... one of the "Coldest Drinks on Earth". Atois didn't invent this drink, but he certainly was partly responsible for popularizing this fruity concoction, and thanks to modern machinery... Snow Cones are available worldwide.
In 1870 Atois met his wife to be, and within the next ten years Atois had two sons. With his growing family Atois business grew into three drink stands, which his sons helped run.
Sometime in the late eighteen hundreds his oldest boy Herbert took over the business, and then took on a partner by the name of Oliver Petri who helped finance a move to Boston where the two men set up a company that manufactured the little original drink stands that Herbert's father had conceived...
Eventually Kepler's Brewing Company was established to make not only the stands, but the sweet syrups as well, which were then supplied to third party vendors all over the eastern states.
In 1907 the company began making Root Beer, and by the end of prohibition became a popular brewer of European Style beer.
In 1929, just before the depression, the company was sold to a national brewer who eventually evolved into one of the world's most famous brewers.
Just think... at least a small part of today's beer industry started with one man's memory of a "Snow Cone".
Contact our office if you'd like to install a copy of Kepler's Arctic Ice in your facilities.