Ben & Jerry’s

Ben & Jerry's

“Peace, Love and Ice Cream”

Before the 80s arrived, there were two hallowed names in the world of ice cream and their names were Baskin and Robbins. They had 40 years of experience making fine frozen products that are still enjoyed to this day. But another pair of entrepreneurs arrived on the scene in 1981. Their names were Ben and Jerry, and their creamy concoctions not only changed the way we think of ice cream, they also helped to better the world in which we live.

No one who attended Penn State’s five dollar, open book correspondence test on ice cream making back in 1977 expected that it would make multimillionaires out of a pair of best buddies. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield met in a seventh grade gym class on Long Island and became lifelong friends. That friendship was cemented in 1978 when they invested twelve thousand dollars in a homemade ice cream shop built in a renovated gas station.

Two years later, Ben was selling pints of ice cream to the local mom and pop stores from the back of his Volkswagen Squareback wagon. Ten years after that, the makers of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream were named “U.S. Small Business Persons of the Year” by President Ronald Reagan and their legacy was secure.

The two buddies (now from Vermont) declared that theirs is a business that’s all about pleasure. From the time of their very first anniversary, they have celebrated Free Cone Day by giving out complimentary ice cream to their beloved customers, a tradition that now involves millions of free ice cream cones per year.

Ben & Jerry’s also created “the world’s largest ice cream sundae” in 1983, a 27,102 pound mass of gooey, glorious refreshment. While sales crept higher and higher into the millions, Ben & Jerry found ways to give back to their community, whether monetarily, through public awareness campaigns, or by even inventing ice cream flavors at the behest of others.

They began to give their ice cream creative names to go along with their exotic flavors. For example, “Cherry Garcia,” named for Grateful Dead front man Jerry Garcia, premiered in 1989 (at the urging of a pair of Maine DeadHeads), the first time an ice cream had been named after a rock legend.

When the money was in the bag, Ben & Jerry took to the road. Dolling out scoops of ice cream to anyone who would take them in their famous “cowmobile,” Ben & Jerry toured America. And when the stock market crashed in 1989, Ben and Jerry drove right up Wall Street, handing out free cones of “That’s Life” and “Economic Crunch” to try and cheer up the beleaguered.

In fact, whether it’s using milk free of Bovine Growth Hormone or using brownies from bakeries that employ the disadvantaged, Ben & Jerry’s has always been about making a great thing greater. Proceeds from their Rainforest Crunch went to Rainforest preservation while Peace Pops campaigned to have one percent of the national defense budget go toward peace-promoting projects and activities.

But at the heart of it all is the timeless taste of exotic ice cream. With Ben & Jerry’s, it’s always something special: 1986’s Toffee Heath Bar Crunch or 1988’s Chunky Monkey (suggested by a New Hampshire college student). Chocolate Fudge Brownie rocked taste buds in 1990 but was nothing compared to the vastly researched, infinitely tweaked, instantly popular Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough of 1991.

And that’s what it’s all about. Anything that candied our youth; Anything that a tongue looks upon with child-like fondness; anything that took us back… Ben & Jerry captured it in an ice cream and gave it back to us. For while there is no limit to good in the world, anything good is almost always inarguably better with ice cream.

Are you a fan of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream? What’s your favorite out of all the flavors they’ve introduced over the years? We would love to hear all of your ice cream loving thoughts in our comments section below.

One Response to “Ben & Jerry’s”

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  1. Gina says:

    I try to avoid buying Ben & Jerry’s ice cream because some of their causes I disagree with. I wouldn’t want my money going to one of those wayward causes.

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