Why Southerners Love Blue Bell Ice Cream

Come summertime, there’s only one brand we keep in the freezer.

Children eating ice cream at Blue Bell Creameries.
Photo: Jeff Greenberg / Contributor

There's no denying that Southerners are a fiercely loyal bunch. We proudly wear our team colors even when they're suffering (yet another) losing season, and you'd better think twice before you start trash-talking Aunt Missy's pound cake. This same devotion also applies to the brands we keep in our kitchens; and when it comes to ice cream, our allegiance lies squarely with Blue Bell. Here's why we can't get enough of the Texas-born treat.

For starters, Blue Bell is a Southern company through and through. First opened in Brenham, Texas, as the Brenham Creamery Company, our favorite ice cream brand changed its name to Blue Bell Creameries in 1930 as a nod to the Lone Star State's much-loved bluebell wildflower. The ice cream wasn't sold beyond Texas until the 1980s, but fortunately for the rest of us, it's now available in 23 states. Even so, Blue Bell has kept its deep Texas roots. Today, you can stop by the production facility in Brenham (about halfway between Austin and Houston) to score a behind-the-scenes view from the Observation Deck and enjoy a scoop in the Ice Cream Parlor. There's a second production facility in Sylacauga, Alabama, where you can chow down on a cone in the Ice Cream Parlor or snag a souvenir at the Country Store.

Beyond the brand's Southern origins, there's something to be said for its longevity too. Started in in 1907, Blue Bell has proven that it can stand the test of time, just like your family's hand-me-down cast iron skillet or the biscuit recipe your grandmother keeps under lock and key.

But more than its Texas roots or longevity, there's one undeniable reason we love Blue Bell ice cream so much. Southerners are a sentimental crowd, and Blue Bell is exceptionally good at distilling our most treasured food memories into nostalgic flavors that tug on our heartstrings with every bite: Buttered Pecan recalls childhood trips to New Orleans for sticky pralines, while Banana Pudding inspires recollections of Sunday dinners after church. And for some of us, Blue Bell's ice cream flavors are traditions in and of themselves, like the summer arrival of Southern Blackberry Cobbler or the anticipated melty scoop of Homemade Vanilla with mama's pecan pie at Thanksgiving. And then, of course, there's the Blue Bell tradition we hold most dear, the one we probably shouldn't confess: What's better than sneaking a spoonful of Cookie Two-Step straight from the half-gallon carton right before bed?

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