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Blue Bell Ice Cream arrives in Denver

BRENHAM - Beginning on Monday, March 14, residents of Denver and the surrounding area will get their first taste of “the best ice cream in the country,” Blue Bell Ice Cream from the little town of Brenham, Texas. Blue Bell is the number-three selling branded ice cream in the U.S.—despite the fact that it is only sold in parts of 20 states--because the ice cream is so popular in the markets where it is available.

Blue Bell is opening a full-fledged 15,000 square-foot “branch” or distribution center with warehouse/office space and cold storage facilities at 14258 East Easter Blvd. in Englewood. Until that new building is completed in late spring or early summer, Blue Bell will be operating out of leased space at 8001 E. 88th Avenue in Henderson.

From the Denver branch, Blue Bell will serve markets within a 100-mile radius of Denver with a total population of about two and a half million, including Boulder, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and Pueblo. The new branch will have a staff of 15 to 20 employees, including driver salesmen, merchandisers, territory managers and office staff.

Kevin McDevitt will be branch manager for Blue Bell in Denver, coming from a position as sales manager at the Phoenix Blue Bell branch.

Blue Bell products will be sold in the beginning at King Soopers, Walmart, Walgreens, Albertsons, Sunflower Farmers Market and other chain and independent grocery stores, drugstores and convenience stores. Blue Bell Ice Cream is also featured at all Carrabba’s and Outback Steakhouse restaurants.

In honor of Blue Bell’s entry into Colorado, the company is introducing a brand new ice cream flavor that will be sold exclusively in Colorado. The flavor, called Rocky Mountain Road, is a rich, dark chocolate ice cream combined with dark chocolate-coated peanuts, milk chocolate-coated pecans, white chocolate-coated almonds and roasted walnuts, all surrounded by a marshmallow sauce swirl. The company has also designed a special container for the new flavor—navy blue with a white silhouette of snow-capped mountains—to represent Colorado’s magnificent Rocky Mountain scenery.

Blue Bell Ice Cream has inspired what has been described as an enviable “cult following” among its millions of devoted fans. Astronauts have carried Blue Bell Ice Cream into space twice. Both presidents Bush had Blue Bell shipped from Texas to the White House and Kennebunkport. President George W. Bush frequently served Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla to foreign dignitaries visiting his Crawford ranch.

Blue Bell Ice Cream, Light Ice Cream, Sherbet, Frozen Yogurt, No Sugar Added Ice Cream, Blue Bell Frozen Snacks and all other products in a 250-product lineup will be distributed directly to supermarkets and food stores in the Denver area in Blue Bell trucks. Blue Bell’s direct store delivery program means that no one other than a Blue Bell employee handles the product from the time it is made until it reaches the grocery shelf. This is one of the ways that Blue Bell ensures that consumers get the freshest possible ice cream.

According to ACNielsen SCANTRACK data for the 52-week period ending August 7, 2010, Blue Bell currently holds a 60% market share of ice cream sold in supermarkets in Houston, 58% in Dallas/Fort Worth, 40% in San Antonio/Austin, 57% in New Orleans/Mobile, 41% in Oklahoma City/Tulsa and 35% in Birmingham.

Ricky Dickson, vice president of sales and marketing for Blue Bell comments, "Blue Bell Ice Cream has had an enthusiastic reception across the South, Southwest and Midwest. After many requests from consumers and grocery store managers, we are delighted to bring Blue Bell to the Colorado area.”

Blue Bell Creameries, known as "the Little Creamery in Brenham," to ice cream lovers, was founded as The Brenham Creamery Company in 1907 in Brenham, Texas, a town of 13,000, located 70 miles northwest of Houston in the rolling hills of Central Texas.

The Creamery was originally founded to make butter from the excess cream marketed by local farmers, but ice cream was added to the product line in 1911. At that time, the Creamery produced two gallons of ice cream a day, hand-cranked in a wooden tub filled with ice. In 1930, the name of the company was changed to "Blue Bell," after the favorite Texas wildflower of the company's manager. Butter was produced until 1958 when Blue Bell began to focus fulltime on making "the best ice cream in the country."

Blue Bell has produced many innovative products over the years, including the original "Cookies 'n Cream," but the most popular flavor of Blue Bell Ice Cream, year after year, is plain and simple Homemade Vanilla, created in 1969, which, fans say, tastes remarkably like the hand-cranked ice cream folks used to make on the porch during long summer evenings.

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