Stranger Than Fiction?
We don’t know quite why it is, but weird and wild stories always seem to materialize around our co-founders, Ben and Jerry. You’d expect no less from the two guys who started an ice cream company in an abandoned gas station and then devoted a whole day to giving their ice cream away for free. (Seriously, who does that?)
The Men, the Myths, the Legends
Sometimes we don’t even know where reality ends and fiction begins in the annals of Ben & Jerry’s history. It’s all pretty twisted and swirled, with a lot in there that could be real . . . or could be the product of a very clever imagination (and possibly one under the influence of a pint or so of Half Baked).
These are our absolute favorite Ben & Jerry’s rumors — unconfirmed, but not necessarily debunked — from the wily archives of our history.
Item number 1
Ben Cohen: Pint Inventor
In the early days of the co-founders’ ice cream adventures, there were no Ben & Jerry's pints — only cups and cones available in the Scoop Shop, plus they sold the goods in bulk to restaurants. It was Ben’s idea to pack their delightful product into pint-sized containers and try to sell it in grocery stores. Was this the first instance of pinted ice cream on grocery store shelves? Sadly, no. But it’s a persistent rumor that has stuck around ever since.
Item number 2
Secret California Cannabis
One urban legend has it that Ben and Jerry got their business off the ground by selling cannabis-infused ice cream on the DL at California music festivals in the '60’s and '70's. We don’t have any actual evidence of this, and we can’t imagine it could be true. Either way, no one’s holding their breath for a Ben & Jerry’s cannabis flavor, right?
Item number 3
One Small Scoop for Man, One Giant Bowl for Mankind
It sounds out-of-this-world crazy, but it just might be true — Ben & Jerry’s was the first ice cream ever to travel to space. We have to assume those lucky astronauts knew they were going to have a late-night hankering for Chunky Monkey and planned accordingly. Or did they? We tried to ask NASA for confirmation, but they haven’t returned our calls.
Item number 4
4/20 Free Cone Day?
Some Ben & Jerry’s sleuths have noted that Free Cone Day often falls around April 20th, the traditional day for, ahem, indulging. Coincidence? Probably. The first Free Cone Day was on May 5th, 1979, the one-year anniversary of the first Scoop Shop opening. These days, they always fall on a Tuesday, usually in early April. So, you decide.
Item number 5
The Weirdest “Diet” Of All Time
This one we actually can confirm: Ben went on an all-French-toast-and-garlic-butter diet at one point. He says, “It worked great. It was delicious and cheap, and I was not too fat, right, during that period of time? I think I was reasonable. One time it caught fire in the toaster oven.” Don’t expect an ice cream flavor based on that flavor combo, though.
Item number 6
Ice Cream Made from What Kind of Milk?!?
This one actually has a paper trail to prove it, despite how wild it sounds. Back in 2008, PETA sent us a letter imploring us to stop making ice cream from cows’ milk and instead use — brace yourself — human breast milk. With all due respect to PETA, we’re pretty sure our fans would be disappointed in the change. Instead we chose almond milk, and PETA awarded us a Proggy for our certified vegan Non-Dairy flavors.
Have you heard any particularly curious Ben & Jerry’s rumors and urban legends? Share them with us in the comments below! Just remember, there are a lot of rumors out there that are just that — rumors.