We know it as one of the world’s most adored ice cream companies, famous for delicious and unique flavours that melt the soul. And just like their amazing products, the story behind the brand is very interesting and heart-warming. Here are a few facts about the long way that led to the cute boxes in your refrigerators.
Friendship for life
Ben and Jerry have known each other since they were kids back in Brooklyn, New York. And all their life’s been about ice cream. Ben drove an ice truck during his senior year in high school, and Jerry was an ice cream scooper in his school’s cafeteria. After high school Ben attended a few colleges and dropped out of them, eventually ending up learning pottery on a farm, where he also started to study the art of ice cream-making. Jerry, on the other hand, studied medicine and later worked as a lab technician. During his lab tech days, he was sharing an apartment with Ben. A few years later they reunited Saratoga Springs and decided to go into the food business together.
That’s right, having invested the modest sum of 12 000$ in opening a shop in an old gas station building in Vermont, their first choice for food business was with bagels. Their idea was to bring Long Island’s famous bagels to the Northeast, but soon found out that the bagel-making equipment is way too expensive. That’s why, remembering their old childhood passion, they decided to start making ice cream. After taking a $5 course on ice cream making, they opened doors in 1978.
Free ice cream!!!
For their 1st year anniversary, the two best friends held a film festival where they served their ice-creams for free. This became a tradition, still existing today. Later in 1986, they had a similar marketing idea. They hit the road in their iconic “Cowmobile”, giving off free cones so that they spread the word about their brand.
Their first flavour to hit the store was Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – a classic, still greatly popular today. But they didn’t stop there. Ben and Jerry wanted to make unique flavours that would be significant for their consumers. That’s why they started manufacturing ice-creams with pop culture references like Cherry Garcia, The American Dream, Pfish food, Karamel Sutra, etc. Sometimes their names sparked controversy, as Ben and Jerry are very politically active and try to express their ideas through their art.
Graveyard for bad flavours
There is literally a graveyard for unsuccessful flavours like Sugar Plum (their worst-selling ever), Holy Cannoli, Oh Pear and so on. There are actual gravestones with the flavour’s years of production, a little cute icon with an ice-cream cone with angel wings and the flavour’s name.
For better mouthfeel
Ironically, Ben has a serious case of a condition called anosmia, resulting in a lack of taste and smell. This made their work a little bit complicated, that’s why they needed to get creative with their flavours, by putting bigger chunks and combining interesting ingredient in order to make a more perceptible and memorable taste.
Ben & Jerry have always wanted to run their business in an environment-friendly way. For example, use of recycled materials, creation of a “Green Team”, solar panels for their company bus, use of hormone-free milk and reducing waste at the company’s facilities. They even originally had a policy that the CEO of the company makes only 5 times the salary of a regular employee, something that is unthinkable today.
These were just a few of the interesting facts the story of Ben & Jerry Ice Creams. Starting as a two-best-friends’ passion for peace, love and ice cream, growing to be a top brand in the confectionery industry. There is a lot we can learn from them about following our dreams and staying true to ourselves. You can find some of the nation’s most favourite flavours in our store.