Where Blue Bell Got Its Charming Name

Blue Bell Ice Cream Containers
Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Southerners know there is no wrong time to enjoy Blue Bell ice cream. While we love it in winter when their holiday flavors come out, below the Mason-Dixon line, the brand is synonymous with summer. The beloved ice cream has become a Southern staple, because it "tastes just like the good ole' days," but back in those good ole' days, Blue Bell wasn't Blue Bell.

It all started back in 1907 when a group of local farmers in Brenham, Texas, decided to work together and founded the Brenham Creamery Company. They pooled their resources, the output of their Jersey cows, and their dairy expertise, and started making butter out of the excess cream that the area farmers dropped off by area dairy farmers whose cows had produced a little extra. A few years later, the creamery realized what else they could do with all that excess cream. Soon they started churning out the best ice cream around—albeit just two gallons of ice cream at a time—selling it under the Brenham Creamery Company name and delivering it to neighbors by horse and wagon. It took them about 20 years to realize that they could do better name wise, at least.

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In 1930, the company switched its name to Blue Bell Creameries as an homage to the ubiquitous Texas bluebell wildflower. According to the Rewind and Capture blog, the name change came about thanks to the company's new General Manager, E.F. Kruse. The Brenham Creamery Company was struggling a bit, and in 1919, they brought in Kruse, who had been a school teacher, to help get the company back on track. He thought a new name would help the company build a new reputation—and it worked!

In addition to changing the name to the native bloom, Kruse made other changes at the company that helped keep it afloat for a century. Today, members of the Kruse family still work at Blue Bell Creameries helping spread the company, the love, and the ice cream around.

The newly-named creamery kept making butter all the way up until 1958 when they realized that while butter is great, ice cream is better. They started to focus on ice cream full time, spreading joy and Rocky Mountain Road, Banana Pudding, Dutch Chocolate, and Homemade Vanilla across the Lone Star State. It wasn't until 1980 that Blue Bell started to sell outside of Texas. Now their delicious frozen treats are sold in 22 states, including 15 states across the South.

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