Who would have thought 50 years ago that a little milk store would grow so big!! We are grateful to all of our customers and our wonderful employees for supporting our dairy. We still enjoy serving you and, hopefully, will continue to do so for as long as we can.
1961 – The family of Edward L. Kerber built a white-brick sales building at the corner of their dairy farm. At that time “jugging” operations were springing up – milk could be sold at a lower than PA Milk Marketing Board price if the milk was produced on that land. With a herd of 300 Holstein cattle, the Kerbers produced a “lot” of milk. In the back of the white-brick building, they set up a processing plant where they homogenized and pasteurized their milk. Because it was a jugging operation, customers brought their own bottles from home to be filled with the sweet fresh milk.
As the number of customers grew, the Kerbers began to fill Kerber-labeled glass bottles. The processing plant was moved back to the farm and the large walk-in cooler took the place of the plant. A sales clerk would hand the bottles of milk to the customers. Soon customers also bought 2- or 4-bottle carriers. Eventually, the Kerbers switched to reusable plastic bottles. Customers would return their empty bottles to be replaced with filled bottles.
By 1991 the white brick store was too small to accommodate the number of customers. A larger store was built a little farther back on the property. Self-serve coolers lined the walls so the customers could select the Kerber milk, juice, and tea products they wanted. Recyclable plastic bottles are used now, eliminating the need for customers to carry empties back to the dairy.
Today the dairy is owned and operated by Thomas L. Kerber and his son, Thomas L. Kerber Jr. The dairy herd was sold many years ago and the processed milk now comes from local farmers. Milk prices are set by the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board and may change on the first of each month as the Board sets the minimum price that can be charged.
The business has expanded to include not only the milk products but also premium ice cream – ice cream made from the cream from the skim and lower fat milks. Kerber’s ice cream has been recognized by the National Ice Cream Retailers Association and also by the local Readers’ Choice polls conducted by the Tribune-Review.
Local TV programs have included Kerber’s in their productions. Rick Sebak (PBS producer) featured the Dairy in his documentary, An Ice Cream Story, and Dave Crawley of KDKA-TV did a feature for his segments of KD Country.
We are also a proud partner of the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau. You can visit our page by clicking HERE.