The answer to our wish for a scoop (or two) of Blue Bell Ice Cream's homemade vanilla and Dutch chocolate is about to come true.
In a statement released Monday, the Brenham-based creamery announced plans to distribute its products to select markets, including Austin, beginning on August 31.
With only its Sylacauga, Alabama plant currently operating, production is limited and will roll out in five phases to 15 states. Phase one includes Austin, Houston and Brenham, 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.
Although no dates have been released for phases two through five, north central Texas and southern Oklahoma are in the second phase, followed by southwest Texas and central Oklahoma in phase three. The majority of Texas and southern Louisiana are part of phase four. 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 in 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.
Production at all three of its facilities (Brenham, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and Sylacauga) was subsequently halted with only the Alabama 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.