Thursday Trivia (on Sunday!): Baskin-Robbins

A scoop of Mint Chocolate Chip, Baskin-Robbin'...

Mmmmmm... (Image via Wikipedia.)

Who were Baskin and Robbins? Oddly enough, brothers-in-law who each owned ice cream parlors. Burt Baskin owned Burt’s Ice Cream Shop in Pasadena, and Irv Robbins owned Snowbird Ice Cream in Glendale, CA, which had a then-unheard of 21 flavors of ice cream. In 1948, though, they combined their efforts, came up with their 31st flavor – chocolate mint – and the company was born. Unfortunately, Burt Baskin would die just as the company was soaring, felled by a heart attack in 1967, six months after it was purchased by United Brands. (Irv Robbins would live until 2008.)

Four more facts about Baskin-Robbins after the jump!

  • There are only 24 regular flavors of ice cream sold at all Baskin-Robbins franchises. Others are the seasonal “flavors of the month,” like Baseball Nut for June and America’s Birthday Cake, added to the rotation in 2004, for July, and still others like Creole Cream Cheese are only regional flavors.
  • Flavors that currently exist that weren’t in the original 31-flavor menu? Cherries Jubilee, Jamoca Almond Fudge, Cookies n’ Cream, and my personal favorite, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, among others. Flavors that were there then that aren’t around now? Banana Nut Fudge, Date Nut, and Egg Nog.
  • Much like Ben & Jerry’s has their Flavor Graveyard, Baskin-Robbins has the “Deep Freeze,” flavors they’ve retired over the years (just with a more…cryogenic theme). A lot of them have to do with presidential campaigns (such as “Saxy Candidate” – oh, how they did not know that would be a prescient pun – for Bill Clinton’s second term victory in 1996) or popular culture milestones (I don’t think Beatle Nut would sell any longer), but there is one classic that no longer exists: French Vanilla, which was part of the original 31-flavor menu and was discontinued along with five other flavors last July.
  • It never made a whole lot of sense to me that a company founded on the West Coast (Baskin-Robbins) could even feasibly merge with a company founded on the East Coast (Dunkin’ Donuts). But in fact for years the companies were owned by Allied-Lyons, a company based in London! It wasn’t until 2004 that Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin-Robbins, and West Coast sandwich establishment Togo’s were spun off into their own company, Dunkin’ Brands.

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