Our wish for a scoop (or two) of Blue Bell ice cream is about to come true. In a recent statement, the Brenham-based creamery announced plans to distribute its products to select markets, including some in Texas, beginning on August 31.
With only its Sylacauga, Alabama, plant currently operating, Blue Bell's production is limited and will roll out in five phases to 15 states. North central Texas will be in phase two, along with southern Oklahoma, although no dates have been attached to any phase other than the first one.
Phase one includes Houston, Brenham, and Austin, as well as Birmingham and Montgomery (Alabama cities near the Sylacauga plant). The company would not disclose which flavors will be distributed, but an Alabama health department official told Dallas station WFAA that the only flavors officials tested in a truck were homemade vanilla and Dutch chocolate.
Southwest Texas and central Oklahoma will head up phase three. The majority of Texas, plus southern Louisiana, are part of phase four, while phase five will complete distribution in Alabama, Oklahoma, and Texas, and begin distribution in Arkansas, Florida, northern Louisiana, and Mississippi. Eight other states are also part of the phase five lineup.
The company conducted a mass recall of its products last April due to contamination of Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Three people died and several were hospitalized after they consumed Blue Bell products manufactured in Texas.
In July, Fort Worth billionaire Sid Bass stepped in to help save the brand as an investor and partner.
Production at all three of its facilities (the other two are in Brenham and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma) was subsequently halted, with only the , and Sylacauga plant back in business.
“Over the past several months we have been working to make our facilities even better, and to ensure that everything we produce is safe, wholesome, and of the highest quality for you to enjoy,” said Ricky Dickson, vice president of sales and marketing for Blue Bell.