Originally published July 19, 2013.
Last week, I finally got the opportunity to take the boys to the home of Blue Bell Creameries here in Brenham, TX for the tour. It was my first time to visit, which is odd, because I lived in and been around, and driven past the Creameries for the past 25 years or so, given that my father lives in the area.
Having two boys who love ice cream pushed me over the edge, I broke down for the tour and shelled out the $14 it cost to take the 30 minute tour. Normally, I would balk at shelling out $14 for a 30 minute tour, but this one had the promise that no other tour guide in history can offer: Blue Bell ice cream at the end of the tour. For my boys, the 30 minute tour was almost too long! After looking at assorted machines dispensing ice cream, ice cream sandwiches and Great Divide bars, Joey kept asking, “can we have some ice cream now?”
That is the cumulative effect of the tour. Never mind that we are peeking into the secret halls where that yummy, precious Homemade Vanilla is produced, all day, every day that the factory is open (no cameras allowed!). Never mind the fact that the tour-guide told us it was their number one selling ice cream hands down. Never mind that you can find Homemade Vanilla at every Outback Steakhouse across the nation. Never mind that Blue Bell is not yet nation wide, but should be. Never mind that they introduce 16 new flavors every year, while removing 16 other flavors every year, therefore if you like a flavor, buy a lot so that they keep it on the production list! All these facts and figures never seem to sink into the grey matter until we actually get some ice cream!
We did get our ice cream. There is an entire ice cream shop at the end of the tour complete with gift shop and plenty of ice cream. You get a ticket for free ice cream with your purchase of a tour ticket, and that gets you a good helping of ice cream to sample.
It was there that I came up with the following rule for my boys: “Sons, if Daddy doesn’t like what you are picking out, you can’t get it.”
That may sound harsh. But Joey selected his ice cream based on it’s color, not flavor. It was like a sherbet orange and lime of some kind. He didn’t like it and I ended up eating it and gave him my Rockside Brownie ice cream (NOTE: new flavor, very good, buy lots!). His was still good, but it wasn’t chocolate. Therefore, I don’t let him buy food or candy unless I like it too.
Now, what some of you have been waiting for. Here are the Top 5 selling Blue Bell Ice Creams. This is not my opinion, but their list compiled by a capitalistic system known as supply and DEMAND! They supply these flavors and the public keeps DEMANDING them! Which leads to the reminder, if you like a flavor, buy lots and demand more. Here are the top 5 selling flavors:
1. Homemade Vanilla — This should be logical because you can take vanilla and add anything you want to it and it will be great. I like to add chocolate syrup… well, to all my Blue Bell flavors.
2. Cookies and Cream — I had to get an ice–cream sandwich of this yesterday while swimming at the Blue Bell Aquatic Center with my boys. It reminded me why Cookies and Cream is so popular. The other ice cream sandwich they sell a lot of is Homemade Vanilla.
3. Chocolate — This would have been my number one on the list, but again, this list is based on sales, not opinion.
4. The Great Divide — Why not? An ice cream of their best flavor, Homemade Vanilla and Chocolate.
5. Ultimate Neapolitan — I don’t like this one because I’m not a fan of strawberry. But I do like 2/3 of this one. Can you guess which ones?
Other Interesting FACTS: I have Orange Swirl and Red Velvet Cake in my freezer right now. Both are July rotational flavors and Orange Swirl is new. I like it even though it’s not chocolate. And, I have yet to add chocolate syrup to it, but I’m sure it would be delightful.
When the ice cream is put into the cartons, the cartons are spun so that the ice cream doesn’t have bubbles. This is true for all ice creams except those like the Ultimate Neapolitan and the Great Divide. Not sure how they keep the bubbles out of those.
It takes 60,000 cows to produce enough milk for a days worth of production. That is a lot of milk. They also test every batch of milk in order to maintain their high standards.
They shut down production at the end of every day and are only open Monday through Friday. Kudos to Blue Bell on this! They know the importance of family and time off.
They truly do eat all they can and sell the rest. In the employee break room, the ice cream in the freezers is free to all employees.
PHOTO Below: I think that is their first delivery truck. Andy wanted to climb on it, even though the sign says not to do so. Beside Joey and Andy are their cousins, Jackson and Maddie.
Copyright © Timothy J. Hammons 2020.