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Made in Texas: How Blue Bell went from making butter for locals to becoming one of the country’s top ice cream brands

An image of Blue Bell Ice Cream Cone flavor, as released on June 13, 2019.
An image of Blue Bell Ice Cream Cone flavor, as released on June 13, 2019. (Blue Bell)

HOUSTONWelcome to Made in Texas, where we write about products made in the Lone Star State.

Today, we’re featuring the iconic Texas-born ice cream company who some say makes the “best ice cream in the country” — Blue Bell Creameries.

The product

As true Texans, we all know that Blue Bell is one of the state’s most well-known products.

The century-old, Brenham-born brand offers a wide variety of ice creams, sherbets and frozen snacks.

Ice cream flavors include 25 classic year-round options like homemade vanilla, cookies ’n cream and moo-llenium crunch. As well as limited-time flavors like fudge brownie decadence, confetti cake and ice cream cone.

A look at the company’s history

Established in 1907 as the Brenham Creamery Company by a group of local businessmen, Blue Bell initially began producing butter made from excess cream provided by area farmers, according to its website.

The company’s ice cream production began in 1911, after it converted an abandoned cotton gin into a creamery, according to the Texas Historical Commission. For nearly half a century, the company’s focus was producing butter, until, in 1958, it decided to ditch its butter production to focus solely on making the frozen treat.

In 1930, the company was renamed Blue Bell Creameries after the state’s native bluebell wildflower.

It wasn’t until the 1980s when Blue Bell ice cream was available in stores outside of Texas. However, the company says it was quick to claim a spot as one of the country’s go-to ice cream brands.

By 1992 it was the nation’s number-two ice cream, right behind Breyer’s, according to the Texas State Historical Association.

Today, the Texas-born product has two other production facilities, one located in Sylacauga, Ala., and the other in Broken Arrow, Okla. and has products available in 22 states, according to its website.

The company says it prides itself on controlling the handling, distribution and shipping of its products.

What’s your favorite Blue Bell ice cream flavor? Comment below.


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