B2 High-Intermediate US 205 Folder Collection
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This is how Vermont's finest grew from cookie dough chunks to hardcore political activism.
1963.
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield meet in seventh grade gym class on Long Island.
They're the two slowest kids in class.
So, by the laws of middle school, they had to become best friends.
1977.
After college, the dudes move to Vermont with the intention of opening a small bagel shop.
But, since the bagel-making equipment is too pricey, they pivot to ice cream.
Makes sense.
1978.
With a modest $12,000 investment, Ben and Jerry open their very first ice cream parlor in a renovated gas station in Burlington.
Confused motorists soon find out, "Hey, this ice cream is actually a lot better than getting gas!"
And Ben & Jerry's becomes a cult hit in Vermont.
Five years later.
1983.
Ben and Jerry decide to open more scoop shops and strike a deal to sell their pints in chain stores throughout the Northeast.
1984.
Okay, weird but necessary fact.
Ben has severe anosmia and lacks a sense of smell or taste, so he relies on mouth feel to provide variety in his diet.
This is the catalyst that leads to the company's focus on texture, leading to the trademark chunks in their ice cream.
Their first chunky-ass pint to hit the shelves is Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, still one of their best sellers today.
Ben & Jerry's essentially started the whole, "Let's cram cookie dough and cake and candy and whatever we want into ice cream" thing.
You're welcome, Cold Stone Creamery.
Also in 1984.
As Ben and Jerry climb their way to the top, big dog Haagen-Dazs takes notice and tries to interfere with their distribution in Boston.
Haagen-Dazs demands that any distributor who wishes to continue carrying their brand must cease sales of Ben & Jerry's.
Ben and Jerry have two options.
They either take the L and get the hell out of Boston, or fight back, much like Leo in "The Departed."
They decide to get scrappy and launch a campaign against Haagen-Dazs's parent company.
They urge loyal customers to write and call Pillsbury to ask, "What's the Doughboy afraid of?".
Eventually, Haagen-Dazs stands down.
The Doughboy is not afraid any more.
1985.
Ski movie "Better Off Dead" comes out, whose plot mirrors the Ben & Jerry's / Haagen-Dazs beef to a tee.
An oddball goes head to head against the establishment in a very cold setting, and the underdog comes out on top.
Coincidence?
Well, yeah, probably.
1986.
Ben and Jerry hits the road to get their name out in the cross-country tour aboard the Cowmobile, a modified mobile home where they pass out free cones.
It's like the Hippie Magic Bus mixed with an ice cream truck.
On the return trip, the Cowmobile accidentally catches on fire and burns to the ground.
Thankfully, no one was hurt, but Ben said it looked like the world's largest Baked Alaska.
1987.
The Cowmobile stunt, along with the commercial success of their newest flavor, named after the Grateful Dead's frontman, officially puts Ben & Jerry's on the map.
They become a $30 million empire, with their ice cream being sold in 35 states.
Who's the losers sitting on the bleachers in gym class now?
Oh wait, that's me.
1988.
Ben starts a nonprofit organization to try and redirect one percent of the National Defense budget to fund peace-promoting activities instead.
This is far from the last time Ben & Jerry's throw down for their values.
Their crusades for social justice have become just as recognizable as their kaleidoscope of ice cream flavors.
1990.
Over at Ben & Jerry's headquarters, they devote a space to commemorate discontinued flavors.
They call it the Flavor Graveyard.
It sounds bleak and spooky, but it's actually my happy place.
2005.
To protest oil drilling in the Arctic, Ben and Jerry construct a 900-pound Baked Alaska and pass out slices on the front line of the U.S. capitol.
No offense to Cowmobile, but this is actually the world's largest Baked Alaska.
2009.
After Vermont becomes the fifth state to recognize same-sex marriage, Ben & Jerry's celebrate by renaming classic flavor Chubby Hubby to Hubby Hubby, aww!
2016.
The dairy duo's back at it again in the U.S. capital.
This time, they hand out pints of Empower Mint ice cream to every member of Congress, along with a letter asking them to repair the damage done by the Supreme Court's 2013 decision to cut the Voting Rights Act.
Later that year, Ben and Jerry are among 300 people arrested as part of the democracy-awakening protest.
This move brings attention to issues like voter suppression and keeping big money out of politics.
And yet, some people still want them to, quote, "stick to ice cream."
2020.
Ben & Jerry's continues to lead the pack when it comes to corporate social responsibility.
Here's their activism manager, Chris Miller, on Thrillist's podcast.
You know, Ben said many years ago that speaking out about the things that he believes in, not only was it not bad for business, but it actually created a level of loyalty for people who support and share our values.
You know, that's very powerful.
With more that 600 scoop shop locations over the world, and 60 iconic flavors like Phish Food, Half Baked, Chunky Monkey, and The Tonight Dough, Ben & Jerry's continues to live up to their legen-dairy status.
Get it?
Dairy, like cows?
Anyway, started in a little gas station in Vermont, grew into a worldwide snack food icon chock-full of chunks.
Thank you, Ben & Jerry's, for always doing the right thing in politics and in ice cream.
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History of Ben & Jerry’s

205 Folder Collection
Seina published on July 21, 2020
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