Naming an ice cream flavor after a beer concoction might be just risky enough for Ben & Jerry's, but a historical connotation has the Vermont ice cream maker dishing out an apology.
Black & Tan ice cream, a mix of stout-flavored cream and chocolate, was named after a drink with Irish and British roots that is made by layering stout and ale in a glass. The ice cream flavor, which contains no actual beer, was one of Ben & Jerry's new releases in February.
While the exact origin of the drink's name is debatable, it is sometimes associated with the force of British ex-servicemen known as the Black and Tans. In the early 1920s, this group burned buildings in retaliation for strikes by the IRA, and once opened fire at a Gaelic football match in Dublin, killing 12.
Several breweries, including the one that owns the famous stout brand Guinness, have used the term for years, and it is not thought to have caused the kind of stir in beer circles as it has for Ben & Jerry's.
The company said last month that the flavor and its name are based only on the drink. "Any reference on our part to the British Army unit was absolutely unintentional, and no ill-will was ever intended," a company statement read. "Ben & Jerry's was built on the philosophies of peace and love...we would never knowingly create a product with any ill intent."
The statement also offered an apology for "confusion or any hard feelings."