The Story of Clover’s Special Eggnog
Hi All, Marcus back again. Well we are officially in the middle of Eggnog season here at Clover. Eggnog is a tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages and we are happy to be keeping it alive here in Clover Country today.
Whenever the holidays roll around and we begin to bottle Clover Eggnog at our plant in Petaluma, CA, I’m reminded of a story that has become the stuff of legend among the Clover family. This year it occurred to me that through this blog I am able to share this story with all of you. I hope you enjoy!
Since the 1930’s, long before Clover Stornetta Farms emerged as a company, the Clover brand was produced at the Petaluma Co-Op, eventually under the supervision of my grandfather, Gene Benedetti. In 1975 the Co-Op burned down and a group of partners, including a man named Al Stornetta of Stornetta Dairy, came together to create what is now Clover Stornetta Farms.
During the old days at Stornetta Dairy, Al Stornetta had a tradition every holiday season to mix up one 500 gallon batch of eggnog with a little something special added in – 30 gallons of whiskey from Vallergas Market in Napa. This “Brandied Eggnog” was packaged in special cartons and given as gifts to customers, distribution managers and chefs. This was a special tradition that was looked forward to by all. When Clover brand became Clover Stornetta Farms in 1977 we decided to take the beloved Stornetta holiday tradition along with us into the new company.
For four years Clover Stornetta Farms carried out the Brandied Eggnog tradition smoothly; our customers loved the little treat we provided and it felt great to keep the custom going in our new company. On the fifth year, 1981, we were confident we could discretely distribute our spiked eggnog gifts as we had in the years before. And we thought we did.
Eggnog season is always a shockingly busy time for us. This favorite holiday treat flies off the shelves at mind-warping speeds leaving many stores out of stock. Such was the case at Vallergas Market #4 on Imola Ave. in Napa, CA. Consumers scooped up the last of the Clover Eggnog. In the back cooler was an unassuming case of Clover Eggnog quarts; the labels were a little different, but to the clerk who was working in the dairy case that day they looked like the perfect solution to the eggnog shortage.
In the meantime an emergency order for eggnog had been called into Clover and arrived at Vallergas #4. When our Clover driver brought in the delivery he was shocked to see Brandied Eggnog on the shelf and quickly made the switch. “Phew, that was a close one!” He thought to himself.
A couple of weeks later an elderly woman came into Vallergas #4 complaining about the Clover Eggnog she had purchased the day before. She said it was not up to par, the Clover Eggnog she had purchased two weeks before in the slightly different package had been MUCH better. She would like some more of that eggnog.
Well, we all like to look back on this story and smile. Luckily the Brandied Eggnog only made it into the hands of one customer that year and she seemed to enjoy it. Needless to say this was a little too close of a call for us and we decided 1981 would be the last year of our “special” batch of Clover Eggnog. We now leave it up to you to add, or not add, whatever you like to this holiday treat.
Thanks for reading. Happy holidays to you and your families!