In 1978, two guys, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, in Burlington, Vermont, took a $5 ice cream-making course and rented out an abandoned gas station to start what has become one of the best and most well-known ice cream companies in the United States. Ben and Jerry not only became famous for delicious ice cream but also for giving their flavors funky-sounding names—Cherry Garcia, Half Baked, Phish Food, Cookie Dough, Americone Dream, and Chunky Monkey—all with big, rich, robust flavors.
Many of those flavors have become iconic ice cream flavors recognizable all around the world. But some of their flavors have been less successful—Wavy Gravy, Rain Forest Crunch, Fossil Fuel, and Vermonty Python. But what is an ice cream company to do when a flavor isn’t successful and the roll out fails? Ben and Jerry’s made the decision to not only discontinue making the flavor but to bury them!
That’s right, bury the flavors. In the back of the factory past the second customer parking lot, on a hill is the Flavor Graveyard. 34 flavors have been killed off and now “rest” in the company cemetery.
And the attention to detail has been incredible. The cemetery is surrounded by a white picket fence and inside are the tombstones—made of Vermont granite—and modeled after the Colonial Era gravestones with flying death’s heads and winged cherubs–like the example below from the cemetery at Concord, Massachusetts.
But instead of a winged skull of death’s head, each gravestone has a winged ice cream cone with a scoop of ice cream depicting the discontinued flavor. Not only does the gravestone have the name of the flavor, the year of creation and the year of its discontinuation, but also a cleverly worded epitaph explaining the flavor’s demise—just as you might see on a slab of slate in a real cemetery!
For example, Economic Crunch was the first flavor to “die” and laid to rest in the Flavor Graveyard. The ice cream flavor was vanilla with chocolate covered almond, pecans, and walnuts. Sounds tasty, right? Especially if you are a nut eater. But for some reason this flavor didn’t make it and was put to rest the same year the flavor was launched.
A delightful mash,
This flavor we remember
For the stock market crash
On the sixth of November.
While there are many similarities between the Flavor Graveyard and one for—well, humans—there are big differences, too. For example, Ben and Jerry’s will bring a flavor back if enough people vote to do so. Oh, if it were only that easy in real life!