Joe Podelco / Lantern photo editor
With the caffeinated Four Loko on its way out, students might be looking for the next trendy way to get their weekend fix. But the next booze of choice might come in a different form.
The product simply titled “Cream,” an alcohol-infused whipped cream, is the latest to hit campus-area liquor stores and is available in flavors such as chocolate, raspberry, orange, cherry, vanilla and caramel. Cream’s website, givemecream.com, recommends “topping off your favorite mixed drinks, signature shots, martinis, daiquiris, coffees and desserts” with the 30-proof whipped topping.
Cream, made with real cream, doesn’t need to be refrigerated like regular whipped cream and has a shelf life of nine months to a year.
It’s sold in liquor stores for about $13 a can.
The alcohol content of a can of Cream is equivalent to three or four beers, and the product is quickly gaining popularity in the campus community, distributors say.
Britney McPheron, a fourth-year in English and communication, tried it for the first time last weekend. Her flavors of choice were chocolate and caramel.
“It was pretty good,” McPheron said. “You could definitely taste the alcohol, but it wasn’t gross or anything.”
Its popularity isn’t limited to the campus crowd, said Chris Guiher, who created Cream.
“We have consumers as young as 21 and up and even older consumers in their 50s and 60s and 70s who enjoy it on their coffee,” Guiher said. “People are finding their own way to enjoy it.”
Guiher, also the president and CEO of Cream’s manufacturer, Cleveland-based Kingfish Spirits, said Ohio is No. 1 in sales out of the 23 states in which Cream is registered for sale. Cream has been on the shelves of Ohio liquor stores for two months.
The idea for Cream came to Guiher during a Mardi Gras party he was throwing as an undergraduate at the University of Toledo.
“We had your typical Jell-O shots and we were trying to get the ladies a little more into the party,” Guiher said. “So I went to the grocery store and got big tubs of whipped cream and used Nestle Quik and mixed in some vodka. We started serving it at the party, and it became a hit.”
He said that even though he had a winning idea, it wasn’t smooth sailing.
“We had the idea but we didn’t have the technology,” Guiher said. “So we had some hurdles to cross over.”
Cream’s national competition, Whipped Lightning, hit the market more than two years ago but is not registered for sale in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Liquor Control.
Matt Mullins, public information officer for the Division of Liquor Control, said in an e-mail that the division has received a product registration for Whipped Lightning that “has not yet been reviewed.”
That product, which claims to be the first “whipahol,” offers flavors including German chocolate, caramel pecan, hazelnut espresso and amaretto.
Representatives of Whipped Lightning did not return multiple phone calls.
Guiher said he hopes to sell Cream in 27 states by the end of the year.
The FDA does not regulate Cream because it is considered a distilled spirit, so the product is not required to list nutritional facts.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau requires only that the label shows what the product is, its alcohol content and that it displays a federal government warning, said spokesman Tom Hogue.
The biggest concern he has heard is about “how consumers are consuming the product,” he said.
“My question would be: Are they going to know how much alcohol they’re drinking?” said Amanda Blake, program coordinator for the Student Wellness Center. “They could be drinking a lot and not realize it.”
Jackie Buell, director of sports nutrition at OSU, said no matter what form alcohol takes, some will use it irresponsibly.
“The whipping cream likely has an appropriate use but likely will be over-consumed in many situations, leading to alcohol poisoning similar to drinking too much of any alcohol,” Buell said in an e-mail.
McPheron, at least, said she doesn’t plan to consume too much alcoholic whipped cream in any one sitting.
“If I’m trying to get drunk, I’ll buy beer or liquor,” McPheron said. “But it could be good as a garnish or something.”
Guiher said he is confident that people will continue to “get whipped” for years to come.
“The product is definitely here to stay,” Guiher said.