11 Cool Facts About Dippin’ Dots

Sweets-lovers have been dipping in to the ice cream of the future since 1988. It’s tasty (candy bar crunch? Yes please!), educational (this is what happens when you play with liquid nitrogen, kids!) and, er, well-rounded. Read on to learn more.

1. YOU HAVE SCIENCE TO THANK FOR THIS FUN DESSERT.

In 1987, Curt Jones was just a microbiologist researching how to quick-freeze yogurt bacteria to use in animal feed. Within a year, he had created his confection by flash freezing ice cream mix in liquid nitrogen. (At negative 320 degrees, the liquid gas is cold enough to instantly freeze anything that is added to it.) "I grew up on a farm and used to make homemade ice cream a lot," he has said. "Working on the yogurt bacteria, I found the little beads fun to play with. Then a month or two later, I was making ice cream with a neighbor and decided it would be better if we could freeze it faster, like we were doing with the yogurt."

2. THE COMPANY'S FIRST PLANT WAS A GARAGE.

Jones first began crafting his invention in 1988 inside his parents’ Grand Chain, Illinois garage. Two years later he moved production to a manufacturing facility in Paducah, Kentucky.

3. THEY'VE COME A LONG WAY SINCE VANILLA.

Among the brand’s 30 flavors: candy bar crunch, cotton candy and kettle corn! The most popular? Cookies ‘n Cream.

4. YOU CAN BUY IT AT STADIUMS, MALLS, AMUSEMENT PARKS—AND IN ASIA!

Dippin’ Dots is sold in 14 countries, including Honduras and Luxembourg. Japan was the company’s first international licensee in 1995.

5. NO, IT'S NOT THE ICE CREAM ASTRONAUTS EAT.

Space travelers’ ice cream is freeze-dried and will not melt. Dippin’ Dots is flash frozen and can still dissolve if not stored at the proper temperature (which, by the way, is negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit).

6. CAN'T CHOOSE YOUR FAVORITE FLAVOR? THERE'S A QUIZ FOR THAT.

The Dippin' Dots personality test asks thought-provoking questions such as “What would you do if you saw your crush at the mall with someone else?” and “You get $50 for your birthday. What do you do with it?” Apparently, more than half of the quiz-taking population are Strawberry.

7. THE COMPANY HOLDS A GUINNESS WORLD RECORD.

On July 4, 2014 in Nashville, Tenn., Dippin’ Dots nabbed the trophy for most ice cream cups prepared by a team of five in three minutes (473!). Country singer Ashley Monroe even pitched in for the contest!

8. THE COMPANY (UNSUCCESSFULLY) SUED A COMPETITOR.

In 1996, Dippin’ Dots sued fellow cryogenic ice cream brand Mini Melts for infringement. Nine years of litigation later, the company lost its fight when it was ruled it hadn’t acquired its patent properly.

9. THEN, THEY ALMOST WENT BANKRUPT.

When Dippin’ Dots filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2011, Jones insisted, “We’re going to keep making Dippin’ Dots, so nobody needs to worry.” He was right. A year later Oklahoma businessman Scott Fischer purchased the company for $12.7 million.

10. THEY DO GOOD.

In 2007, the company held a celebrity grand slam paddle jam (i.e. a giant table tennis tournament) to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

11. AND THEY'VE GOT A SENSE OF HUMOR.

On April 1, 2015, the company posted a story on its site about their new “giant-sized Dippin’ Dot option—The Jumbo Dot!” Sadly, the oversize confection—touted as the perfect treat for graduation parties and weddings—was an April Fools' Day joke. Further proof of their sense of humor? This commercial.

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Elsie Hui, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Sam's Club Brings $.99 Polish Hot Dogs to All Stores After They're Cut From Costco's Food Courts
Elsie Hui, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Elsie Hui, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

In early July, Costco angered many customers with the announcement that its beloved Polish hot dog was being removed from the food court menu. If you're someone who believes cheap meat tastes best when eaten in a bulk retail warehouse, Sam's Club has good news: The competing big box chain has responded to Costco's news by promising to roll out Polish hot dogs in all its stores later this month, Business Insider reports.

The Polish hot dog has long been a staple at Costco. Like Costco's classic hot dog, the Polish dog was part of the food court's famously affordable $1.50 hot dog and a soda package. The company says the item is being cut in favor of healthier offerings, like açai bowls, organic burgers, and plant-based protein salads.

The standard hot dog and the special deal will continue to be available in stores, but customers who prefer the meatier Polish dog aren't satisfied. Fans immediately took their gripes to the internet—there's even a petition on Change.org to "Bring Back the Polish Dog!" with more than 6500 signatures.

Now Sam's Clubs are looking to draw in some of those spurned customers. Its version of the Polish dog will be sold for just $.99 at all stores starting Monday, July 23. Until now, the chain's Polish hot dogs had only been available in about 200 Sam's Club cafés.

It's hard to imagine the Costco food court will lose too many of its loyal followers from the menu change. Polish hot dogs may be getting axed, but the popular rotisserie chicken and robot-prepared pizza will remain.

[h/t Business Insider]

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iStock
Two of the Last Blockbuster Stores Are Closing
iStock
iStock

The fact that Blockbuster still has three stores in the U.S. may come as a surprise, but the video rental chain's days are numbered. The brand's two branches in Alaska will be closing up shop next week, leaving only one last holdout in Bend, Oregon, according to Engadget.

"If you'd asked me 14 years ago, there's no way I'd thought we'd be the last one," Sandi Harding, General Manager of the Oregon store, tells Engadget. "It just seems a little crazy.”

Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in 2010 but continued to license its logo to franchisees. In 2013, there were 13 remaining Blockbuster stores, and by 2016 there were nine. Many of these branches were located in Alaska, where internet is costly and many areas lack a broadband connection, making streaming difficult.

This alone wasn't enough to keep Blockbuster's Fairbanks and DeBarr Road locations in business, though. The stores will close July 16, but they'll reopen the following day for an inventory sale that will last until the end of August.

John Oliver, host of Last Week Tonight, became an unlikely champion of the DeBarr Road outlet last April when he bought the jockstrap worn by Russell Crowe in Cinderella Man for $7000 and donated it to the store in hopes of generating interest and foot traffic. It worked for a little while, but the effect was temporary and business dropped off once again. Indeed, the age of Netflix marks the end of an era.

[h/t Engadget]

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