Day Trip: Tipsy Scoop’s Melissa Tavss

When Melissa Tavss launched the boozy ice cream brand Tipsy Scoop in New York City in 2014, she’d already been mixing booze into food for years. As a rep for a marketing agency, she was baking Chambord into cupcakes and tossing bourbon onto chicken wings for liquor brands. Meanwhile, her family’s history of professional ice-cream making made her naturally obsessive over crafting the perfect recipe at home. It was only a matter of time until her two worlds collided, and Tavss began selling liquor-infused ice creams as a pushcart concept at weddings and events. A viral Facebook video led patrons to flock to her warehouse space, eventually resulting in three Tipsy Scoop Barlours that now serve Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Long Beach. On the heels of a recently announced franchising deal, we follow Tavss on a busy Friday, from home office to scoop shop.

9:30 a.m.

We have a weekly call on Friday with everybody on the Tipsy Scoop corporate side. We go over what the next week will look like, and what the next three months will look like. We do things like flavor planning, since we do seasonal, limited-edition flavors every month, as well as for samples that we need developed the following week. When we’re planning flavors, we work really closely with different liquor brands. Sometimes they have ideas about a cocktail they want to highlight or translate into an ice cream. We can definitely work on that with them, but for the most part it’s myself and our director of marketing who are coming up with different flavors that are released on a seasonal basis.

Last fall, for Miller High Life, we made the man ice cream bar that was inspired by dive bars. The flavor was a Miller-infused vanilla ice cream, which was also infused with caramel to mimic the stickiness of a bar floor. Peanuts were in it to represent a bar snack, then coated in dark chocolate and topped with a carbonated candy. It reminded you of the sparkliness of Miller High Life, so I thought that was a really fun, out-of-the-box partnership.

11:30 a.m.

I have a call with our graphic designer about a flavor that we were doing for Cinco de Mayo. It’s a co-branded flavor with a tequila company, so we’ll often do different, fun labels for those seasonal flavors. Since Cinco de Mayo is when people start getting really excited about summer and ice cream, we always like to do something big for that.

1 p.m.

After that meeting, I have a Zoom call with a potential franchisee. We just announced we were franchising earlier this summer. Our franchises are open to any state in the U.S., but we have certain cities and states that we’re looking to start with based on our distribution. We’re sifting through candidates now to see who might be a good fit.

2 p.m.

I go to our store in Long Beach on Long Island, where I live. It’s one of our only seasonal locations. Our manager for this store will come in, and I’ll be there to open the store from 2 to 5 p.m., helping anybody who comes by during the day. When I get there, we also have a photographer come in to shoot some new photos of our pints for delivery apps. One thing we noticed is that while our photos on the site look very busy and stylized, and are great for that, they’re not great for encouraging immediate orders.

5 p.m.

I like to work even when I’m not at work. Usually, on the weekends, I’ll go check on one of the stores, or we sometimes have ice-cream-making classes that I’ll do. It’s all fun—it’s booze and ice cream! Those are a lot of fun to teach. It’s always interesting to see who signs up and to see this group of 10 people who have never met each other before become best friends.

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