Sharp-eyed and gentle Portland Sea Dogs fans might notice something different in baseball season when they purchase Sea Dogs Biscuit lands in their paws.
It’s not really a Sea Dogs biscuit.
The mini-league team’s signature treat, a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two pieces of soft and sweet chocolate chips, is another victim of nationwide supply chain problems — specifically, for the ingredients in the melt-resistant ice cream that Gifford uses in his sandwich. Branded ice cream.
In its place, the team was selling a similar Blue Bunny ice cream sandwich through a food vendor and other generic variety from a private local distributor.
The alternatives are sold under the Sea Dogs Biscuit name for the same $4 price as the official version.
“We would have been more concerned if we hadn’t had an alternative option, but we actually succeeded,” said Sea Dogs President and General Manager Geoff Iacuessa.
In 2020, Sea Dogs teamed up with Gifford’s Ice Cream of Skowhegan, which has supplied sandwiches since April 2021, to create a unique ice cream formula for Sea Dogs biscuits.
“They are not sold in grocery stores or at our family-owned kiosks,” Gifford’s CEO Lindsay Skilling wrote in an email to the Press Herald. “The ice cream has a low butterfat content that helps prevent melting during a hot summer game at Hadlock Field. We were unable to source the vanilla ice cream ingredients in the quantities needed to supply Sea Dogs biscuits.”
Skilling said she can’t predict when Gifford’s sandwiches will return to the field.
“We know how much this ice cream is loved and enjoyed at ball games and fans can be disappointed,” she said. “We continue to look for solutions, but at this time we are not sure when the supply chain problem will be resolved.”
Iakusa said fans were overwhelmingly understanding, given how prevalent supply chain-related shortages are right now.
“People have been great about it. Everyone really understands. I think people are just excited to be back on the field for games.”
This was the first time since 2019 that Sea Dogs played without cancellations or limited seating, due to COVID-19.
Fans at Friday’s game were mostly accepting of alternative ice cream sandwiches.
Nine-year-old Corinne McKenna smiled as he bit his version of Blue Bunny, which has chocolate chips around the edges of the ice cream.
Although he noted the softer biscuits and extra chocolate, he said, “It’s still Sea Dogs biscuits.”
Phil and Katie Moore were walking away from the vendor, holding three ice cream sandwiches, when they realized the lack of the logo and the difference in the dessert.
“I kind of hope they’re the same,” Phil Moore said.
Old Orchard Beach’s Cameron Rice, who works at the stadium as a salesman, said he’s noticed disappointment in some of his customers. He said real Sea Dogs cookies are crunchier and bigger, and he’s eager to get them back.
When they came back, he said, “I’ll be first in class.”
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