Everyone has always said that every trend comes back in style at some point. Apparently, the same principle applies to the dairy industry.
Danzeisen Dairy of Phoenix, Ariz., is bringing back the classic glass milk bottle. Packaging and distributing milk in glass bottles hit a peak in the 1950s and ’60s. If you were a kid during this time period, then you’re probably overcome with nostalgia right now. Instead of an ice cream truck lumbering down the street every day (or better yet, in addition to) there was a milkman who dropped off glass bottles of this fresh dairy delicacy right at your doorstep. The concept sounds pretty convenient, but why did we ever move away from this practice?
Years ago, local dairies and creameries wanted to get their fresh product to customers as soon as possible, considering storage was nothing like the high-tech refrigeration systems we have today. However, as distribution became more efficient and technology advanced, the necessity of a milkman and those quaint glass bottles disappeared. It became easier to obtain milk from the grocery store, and companies soon figured out how to extend the shelf life of milk, making immediate delivery less valuable. Many dairy corporations also realized that packaging milk in plastic containers was far cheaper, and gradually the glass bottle faded from the marketplace. When the Department of Agriculture conducted a survey on home milk delivery in 1963, nearly 30 percent of consumers said they had their milk delivered. The last time the survey was conducted, in 2005, this number was 0.4 percent.
Danzeisen Dairy wants to take customers back to the days of fresh bottled milk from local creameries.This will make the company the first Arizona dairy in over half a century to sell Arizona milk in a bottle. Not only will the transition make their product stand out in grocery stores, making it an ingenious marketing move, but the company also recognizes it is far more eco-friendly. Danzeisen Dairy has purchased a vintage bottle-sanitizing machine and also arranged a contract with a Canada-based bottle maker. Customers are also welcome to refill their glass bottles at the dairy.
It turns out the Danzeisen is not the only dairy company turning back the clock—the glass bottle, and even the milkman delivering them, is on the rise. A 2007 article in the New York Times chronicling the reappearance of dairy delivery dubbed this the “renaissance of the milkman.” Right outside of Boston, a company called Thatcher Farm has continued to deliver milk and other dairy products to homes since 1891. Oberweis Dairy in North Aurora, Ill., has also expanded their home delivery service. Since 1997, their dairy delivery customers have jumped from 10,000 to 40,000!
The demand is growing so steadily that even new entrepreneurs are breaking into the market and finding success. Catamount Farm in New Hampshire just entered the dairy delivery business in 2002 and has seen growth in the company every year.
If you’re looking for a career change, now just might be the time to get into home delivery dairy services. After all, everything old becomes new again eventually.
Feature Photo Credit: Danzeisen Dairy