Blue Bell Creameries, L.P.

  • Overview

Despite its bucolic trademark image of a barefoot country girl leading a milk cow, ice cream maker Blue Bell Creameries means business. It offers some 20 ice cream flavors year-round and about 35 rotating flavors. While Blue Bell is considered to be a regional brand (with distribution in certain regions of only 23 US states), it is one of the nation's most popular ice cream brands. In addition to ice cream, it makes yogurt, frozen treats (ice cream sandwiches, fruit pops), sherbet, and low-fat and sugar-free ice creams. Blue Bell works to expand from its base in Texas and surrounding areas, but it doesn't have plans for explosive growth, as it retains control over production and distribution of its products.

Geographic Reach

In all, Blue Bell products are available in 23 US states, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, the Carolinas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming. It maintains nearly 60 distribution facilities throughout the US.

Operations

The company operates production facilities in Alabama, Oklahoma, and Texas. Beginning in 2013, Blue Bell is expanding its primary plant in Brenham, Texas, with the construction of a 100,000-sq.-ft. cold storage and production facility at the cost of $14 million. The move is the first major expansion at the facility since the early 1990s and will allow the company to add 50 jobs at that location.

Strategy

Blue Bell ranks as one of the top three, best-selling ice creams nationwide despite the company's products being available in about 26% of US supermarkets. Even though the company keeps a roster of creative flavor combinations, its Homemade Vanilla is its top selling flavor.

While some competitors have slimmed down the size of their ice cream containers to maintain profit margins, Blue Bell asserts that its ice cream will retain its true half-gallon size. And to keep its customers coming back for favorite flavors while trying new ones each year, the creamery boasts an active product development group that churns out new flavors, such as its Rocky Mountain Road.   

While it prudently extends the reach of its business, Blue Bell in 2014 began distributing ice cream in the Las Vegas area. To support its growth there, the company plans to open a 12,000-sq.-ft. distribution center in the city that will be strategically situated near several retailers' distribution centers. The ice cream maker also built office and cold storage facilities in Tampa, Florida, and a distribution warehouse near Nashville, Tennessee, to support deliveries directly to foodservice operators and grocers in those areas. In 2012 the ice cream maker expanded into Research Triangle region of North Carolina, after entering Charlotte eight years prior. In 2011 Blue Bell entered Colorado and the South Florida market.

Company Ownership

The Kruse family continues to own the creamery, which was started in an abandoned cotton gin in Brenham, Texas, in 1907 as the Brenham Creamery. It changed its name to Bluebell Creamery, after the native Texas Bluebell wildflower, in 1930.

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Blue Bell Creameries, L.P.


1101 S Blue Bell Rd
Brenham, TX 77833-4413
Phone: 1 (979) 836-7977
www.bluebell.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Private
  • President and CEO: Paul Kruse
  • Chairman: Edward Kruse
  • President and CEO: Paul Kruse

Major Office Locations

  • Brenham, TX
  • Brenham, TX

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