In 1963, two boys would meet in a 7th grade gym class. But, neither one of them knew that they would go on to create one of the most popular brands of ice cream in the world. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are the masterminds behind Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. To many, these two men are culinary geniuses. From their Cherry Garcia to their Chunky Monkey, Ben & Jerry have been able to provide ice cream flavors for every palate imaginable. But, where did is all begin? How did Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream come to be the success it is today?
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Facts #1: 1977 Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield Learn About Ice Cream
In 1977, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield wanted to open a business together. But, ice cream wasn’t their first choice. In fact, they wanted to make bagels. Unfortunately, making bagels would involve buying expensive equipment that they couldn’t afford. So in 1977, they took a correspondence course in ice cream making. The course was cheap enough, costing only $5 and the two men were able to do very well on the exam. In fact, that got a perfect score, but that might have something to do with the exam being open book.
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Facts #2: On May 5th 1978 the First Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Shop Opens
On May 5th, 1978 Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream was first sold. This actually came as a surprise to the two men, who had meant to open their shop on May 6th. Unfortunately, they had sent the wrong date to the newspapers and were forced to open one day early. But, it was a very successful opening.
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Facts #3: On May 5th 1979 Free Scoop Day Begins
One year after the ice cream shop had opened, Ben & Jerry started Free Scoop Day. All day they served free ice cream to their customers. Another fun fact is that this tradition continues at all of their American locations.
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Facts #4: In 1980 the Ice Cream Goes Into Pints
In 1980, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream was available in pints. This meant that the product could now be sold in stores across America. This also meant that the company would have to move to a larger location, several times over the next few years.
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Facts #5: In 1983 Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Is Used to Make One Big Sundae
In 1983, the world’s largest sundae was made. The sundae was made using Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and weighed in at 27,102 pounds. Talk about a large sundae and a delicious one.
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Facts #6: The Company Went Head to Head with Haagen Daz in 1984
To be perfectly honest, Haagen Daz is like the child who takes his toys home because he’s losing the game. In 1984, Haagen Daz was beginning to lose the game, the ice cream game that is. Stores were beginning to sell Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and Haagen Daz threatened to pull their ice cream from store shelves if the stores continued to sell Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. At this time Haagen Daz was owned by Pillsbury. This led Ben & Jerry to start the campaign ‘What’s the Doughboy Afraid Of”. All this publicity only made Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream more popular. Their sales increased 120% that year. Another interesting fact is that the company ended up having to sue Haagen Daz not once, but twice.
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Facts #7: Cherry Garcia Hits Store Shelves in 1987
In 1987, Ben & Jerry’s released Cherry Garcia. To this day, Cherry Garcia continues to be one of their most popular flavors.
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Facts #8: Received the Corporate Giving Award in 1988
In 1988, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream received the Corporate Giving Award because they were donating thousands of dollars to non-profit organizations. In fact, they were donating 7.5 percent of their pre-taxed income.