King of Ice Cream: Blue Bell Creamery, TX

Ask expatriate Texans about Blue Bell ice cream, and a certain wistful look will come into their eyes.

Blue Bell ice cream is an icon in Texas. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Oh yeah, Blue Bell,” they say. “You’re making me homesick!”

Blue Bell ice cream is an icon in Texas.

Blue Bell has become the best tasting and certainly the most successful ice cream in Texas (and that means the best in the world).

And we’re talking big-time success here! And they did it all out of a little ice cream plant in Brenham, Texas.

How? What makes an exceptionally good thing good?

For the answer I visited “the little creamery” in Brenham: I think I found out.

The Blue Bell Creamery has been churning out some of the best ice cream in the world for over a century. Blue Bell got its start in Brenham back in August 1907, as butter-maker Brenham Creamery Company.

Four years later, they put together milk, cream, eggs, and fruit fresh from local farmers and began making a gallon or two of ice cream daily, packing it in a large wooden tub with ice and salt and delivering it by horse and wagon to neighbors.

What is your favorite Blue Bell flavor? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In 1930, the company changed its name to Blue Bell Creameries, after the Texas wildflower that grows throughout much of the state.

Today their ice cream is a true Texas favorite. Made in a multitude of flavors (Pecan Praline ’n Cream, Buttered Pecan, Caramel Sundae Crunch, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Spiced Pumpkin Pecan, and Moo-llennium Crunch are tops with me), there’re like a hug in a bowl.

Southern Scoops

Known for its frozen interpretations of Southern desserts—Southern Blackberry Cobbler, Banana Pudding, Chocolate Mud Pie, and Southern Hospitality—Blue Bell debuts several new flavors each year, narrowed down from hundreds of suggestions from fans and employees.

Sure, Blue Bell has made a few duds over the years—the Dill Pickles ‘n’ Cream must have prompted a run on grocery stores by pregnant women but Homemade Vanilla, Cookies ‘n Cream, and Dutch Chocolate have earned it a loyal following.

Blue Bell isn’t just the number one ice cream in the Lone Star State. It dominates the market.

A great flavor for the good folks in Kentucky. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And although Blue Bell is only available in about 26% of the nation’s supermarkets, it ranks as the number three best-selling brand in the United States; also Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla is the best-selling single flavor of ice cream in the entire U.S. Their products are currently sold in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Sales vary according to regional tastes; Black Walnut is a best-seller in the Mississippi River Valley, Pistachio Almond is popular in New Mexico, Arizona, and Florida, and Kentucky Delight is sold only in the Bluegrass State.

Like other folks around Texas and the South, we’re interested in seeing where our favorite ice cream is made.

The sweet story of “the little creamery” in Brenham and the tasting test continues tomorrow…

Texas Spoken Friendly

Worth Pondering…
Blue Bell Ice Cream jingle

I remember our old country home
Clean fresh air and the flowers growing
In the fields, along the path, beside our swimming hole
Momma hollering through the screen
Would you kids like some homemade ice cream?
That was such a simpler time and place
Blue Bell tastes just like the good old days!

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