You're Not the Only One Who Wants Magnolia's Buttery Sweet Corn Ice Cream Back

Ramon Ang himself wants the nostalgic ice cream flavor continued.

Magnolia Ice Cream
ILLUSTRATION War Espejo

(SPOT.ph) Chances are your parents once went on a date at the old Magnolia Ice Cream house. Who knows, they might have fallen in love while sharing a classic banana split and Chocolait at the outlet connected to the dairy plant, when you were just a shared sparkle in their eyes. And even after you were born, we're sure you grew up with Magnolia ice cream as a staple in your house, particularly the Gold Label ones—heck, maybe even the Buttery Sweet Corn flavor.

Remember that bright yellow treat? Yup, the nostalgic flavor was discontinued in September 2014. If that left a hole in your heart, then know that you're not the only one missing it. Turns out Ramon Ang, San Miguel Corporation chief, is a part of the Sweet Corn fanbase, he shared in a roundtable with Summit Media press on May 21.

Original Magnolia Ice Cream buttery sweetcorn flavor
PHOTO BY Magnolia Inc.
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"Ako, ang personal favorite ko is sweet corn," he says when asked about best-selling ice cream flavors. But, "Ang pinakasikat nilang produkto ngayon is 'yong kesong puti at avocado flavors." Understandably, both current best-selling flavors have that home-y, old-school feel to them—but sweet corn would probably trump both.

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History of the Old Magnolia Ice Cream Brand

The old Magnolia brand can be traced all the way back to a certain William J. Schober. The story goes that Schober, who came to the Philippines in the early 1900's as a cook in the U.S. Army, first introduced the “magnolia pie”, “magnolia ice cream” and “magnolia ice-drop” products.

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In 1925, Schober sold the business to the San Miguel Brewery which then set up a dairy plant in the same street as their original beer plant, Calle Aviles. The dairy plant moved places a couple times more—including Calle Echague (now C. Palanca Sr., Street) in Quiapo, Manila—before finally landing at Aurora Boulevard, Quezon City. 

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It was in the dairy plant along Aurora Boulevard that they set up a small outlet store, the same one that became a main hub for Metro Manila folks back in the day. At the time, the expansive dairy plant was one of the biggest structures along the thoroughfare. The large, spacious compound near the corner of Doña Hemady had command of the area, way before the Metro Rail Transit Line took over most of the street and crowded buildings began popping up.

In the '90s, a joint venture with the global company resulted in the Magnolia-Nestlé Corporation. You might have noticed the brand pretty much vanished in the early 2000s as SMC ceded their rights to sell milk and ice cream. The products did retain the Magnolia nametag during this time but had the overarching Nestlé logo on them. When the deal ended in 2004, SMC worked on revitalizing the brand again—with a focus on Magnolia Ice Cream. 

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Nowadays, Magnolia "enjoys a good business or good popularity on ice cream, cheese, butter, margarine," says Ang. His philosophy though is that you can't "overuse" a brand, which is why San Miguel Corporation keeps it more or less within the dairy line, otherwise "Magiging irrelevant siya later on."

"You have to come up with more brands para masiguro 'yong future ng kumpanya," explained the SMC chief. For context, the SMC conglomerate currently heads 24 subsidiaries, from food (such as Magnolia, and of course, San Miguel Brewery) to infrastructure (South Luzon Tollway Corp.). 

Still, that doesn't mean the SMC head is incapable of some nostalgia amid the business savvy. He has his own memories of the brand, particularly the Ice Cream House itself, saying "Siyempre, lahat kaming matatanda sanay sa Magnolia." He explains that the hold Magnolia has over Pinoys is probably due to the fact that it was one of the first major dairy brands in the country. Nostalgia will always be a force. 

And as for the good ol' Buttery Sweet Corn? Well, "Sinasabi ko lagi sa kanila na 'Mag-produce naman kayong sweet corn,'" shares Ang—but it looks like the Magnolia team may need more convincing. "Ayaw pa rin nila dahil ako lang [daw] ang kliyente n'iyon." Think we can convince them otherwise?

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