Bay Area favorite Three Twins Ice Cream ceases operations

Three Twins Ice Cream Berkeley closed
Carol Vaziri/Courtesy

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Once the producer of a well-loved household staple, Three Twins Ice Cream closed in late April due to an increasing number of financial challenges, as announced on its website.

In addition to its Berkeley shop located on Fourth Street, Three Twins also operated across Northern California and internationally. Since 2005, Three Twins has been serving unique flavors such as lemon cookie, chocolate orange confetti and Mexican chocolate, according to its website.

“Over the past year, we were trying to sell the business,” said Three Twins founder Neal Gottlieb. “When the pandemic happened, any sort of last-minute opportunities went away.”

Gottlieb added that the business chose to close soon enough so that all employees could get paid.

Customer Samantha Gottlieb — who has no relation to Gottlieb — noted in a tweet that Three Twins was a regular ice cream choice in her household. She added that the cookies and cream flavor was her children’s favorite.

“I feel like (Three Twins) was consistently really good ice cream — had lots of flavors, variety and the quality was really good,” Samantha Gottlieb said. “It feels kind of like a loss.”

These sentiments were echoed by Anand Ganesh, a longtime Three Twins customer, who stocked up on Three Twins ice cream when its closure was announced.

Ganesh added that his family had memories of sharing the ice cream while spending time together.

“Our daughter who’s 2 1/2 loved the vanilla flavor,” Ganesh said. “We have a lot of happy memories just enjoying the ice cream, watching a movie.”

In addition to running its own storefronts and supplying local grocery stores, Three Twins was a fixture at Bay Area farmers’ markets in its early years, according to its website. Gottlieb noted that Three Twins began distributing its ice cream nationally after Whole Foods discovered it at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market.

When asked about his favorite memories of running Three Twins, Gottlieb recalled selling ice cream out the back of his pickup truck shortly after starting the business. Even after 15 years, he remembers the exact amounts of ice cream the business sold in its first days.

“Thanks to the community, we were eventually able to serve tens of millions of servings of organic and really delicious joy,” Gottlieb said.

Additionally, through its Ice Cream for Acres land conservation initiative that launched in 2011, Gottlieb said Three Twins funded the purchase of 12,000 acres for habitat restoration and protection.

According to the Three Twins website, with the purchase of each pint that had an Ice Cream for Acres logo, Three Twins donated the equivalent of 6 acres to Global Wildlife Conservation, an Austin-based nonprofit that has established more than 30 protected areas in 17 countries.

“Such a seemingly insignificant choice about what ice cream to buy added up to a profound impact,” Gottlieb said. “I’m really thankful for this community that bought our ice cream for 15 years.”

Contact Zoe Chen and Jessica Li at [email protected].