We’ve all heard the cliche line from lonely singles: “The only two guys in my life that I need are Ben and Jerry!” Yes, it’s a bit depressing to see someone say this while literally sobbing into a pint of Half Baked, but it’s indicative of the degree to which Ben & Jerry’s has become synonymous with ice cream in America—just like Kleenex is with tissues, Coca-Cola with soda. While the ice cream’s tasty, it’s the personality of the brand—expressed through oddball flavors with cheeky, pun-addled names—that’s helped it cement itself in pop culture for more than three decades.
The company was formed back in 1977 by two friends, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who bonded in middle school over their lack of athleticism. The first official shop opened on May 5th, 1978 in Burlington, Vermont, and while the original store was demolished to build a parking lot, they’ve got plenty to show for themselves today.
Of course, the path to success wasn’t always easy. From their humble beginnings scooping ice cream out of a rundown gas station, to a very public battle with ice-cream megabrand Häagen-Dazs, Ben and Jerry have battled through stacked odds and numerous controversies to seal their place in frozen-treat history.
While you may be able to name every flavor, there are plenty of things about the famed ice-cream brand that you probably definitely didn’t know—until now.