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Graeter's Ice Cream Freezer Expansion

Cincinnati, Ohio

Handcrafted ice cream producer increases low-temperature freezer capacity to meet seasonal demand

Project Highlights

  • Increased ice cream production created need for more product storage
  • Property restraints resolved using creative planning through detailed code analysis
  • Cost-effective solutions helped quadruple on-site storage capacity and enhanced efficiency


sf low temperature freezer addition


backup generator


shipping dock expanded

Finished Frozen Goods Storage and Shipping

A growing market for this hand-crafted ice cream producer created the need for additional storage space for their finished goods. The 150-year-old company decided to explore available options for creating additional storage space, and they selected Food Plant Engineering to assist with developing a master plan for growth. The demand for ice cream varies seasonally, but it can be stored for long periods of time due to its shelf life. Graeter’s employs the French pot method of producing ice cream in small batches, a procedure that does not allow for seasonal increases in production rates. Thus, the firm utilizes storage to build inventory during slower seasons. FPE performed various feasibility studies to review options for layout, size, and cost for additional freezer storage. This included developing storage off-site from current production operations and exploring options for building the freezer on-site as well.
The feasibility plan helped determine that constructing the storage facility at the existing site was the best option. While the facility was designed for future growth, the site location and boundary restrictions placed limitations on alternative construction materials and expansion itself. A code study was performed to determine viable options for expansion within the site parameters. Initially, it was determined that due to the addition’s proximity to the property line, a concrete or masonry wall was needed. However, our team was able to use calculation methods in the code for the allowed use of insulated metal panels for the walls, thus saving a significant cost in the construction when compared to concrete wall panels.

Our team developed the documents for constructing the facility using 3D BIM software. This allows the project team to easily view new addition integration within the existing facility. Such technology also helps to create a better plan for sequencing the construction and staging the construction shutdowns, thus allowing for production and warehousing operations to continue during construction.

This design-build project was implemented using an open-book process to determine the best value approach for selecting suppliers and subcontractors. This method gives owners the freedom to select and choose options for their project and permits them to allocate capital resources where most desired.  

When complete, the new freezer will quadruple Graeter’s on-site storage capacity, allowing the company to operate more efficiently and steadily build inventory to meet market demands throughout the year.