40,000: The number of individual pieces of ice made a week at Penny Pound Ice.
26 Clinebell ice-making machines spit out 80 to 100 300-pound blocks of ice at the ice factory in downtown Los Angeles, founded by bartender Eric Alperin, Gordon Bellaver and Cedd Moses in 2012.
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The blocks are cut into 400 to 750 individual pieces by hand, depending on the style of ice. Each style is packaged into 800 bags per week, 50 pieces per bag, and distributed to various bars and restaurants around the city.
It takes 10 people and four trucks to help this cold process along. No Zambonis are used, but the Clinebell machines, originally used for making ice sculptures, are pretty cool, even if you won’t find them at any Kings games.
“When I was working in New York we were freezing ice in pans, then chopping them up into various shapes with hammers and chisels,” says Alperin, who worked at Milk & Honey with barman Sasha Petraske before coming to Los Angeles to mix cocktails for Nancy Silverton at Osteria Mozza.
Ten years ago, Alperin and Moses opened the Varnish, a speakeasy in downtown Los Angeles, and found that he and his crew needed something a bit more complex than ice trays.
Penny Pound makes Tom Collins spears, ice specifically for old-fashioneds, cubes specially designed for cocktail shaking, rocks stamped with designs and even cinder blocks for the DIY crowd. You know, for when you want to chain-saw a reindeer ice sculpture at your backyard cocktail party.