Blue Bell Ice Cream will return to stores in Louisiana and parts of Mississippi next month, just in time for Christmas. Meanwhile, the creamery said they're building up inventory that will allow them to soon offer more flavor selections.
Blue Bell said Tuesday they'll enter the fourth phase of their five phase market re-entry plan on Dec. 21 -- that phase will restore products to the Lousiana and Jackson, Mississippi areas.
“We are excited to announce phase four and look forward to expanding our distribution area,” said Ricky Dickson, vice president of sales and marketing for Blue Bell. “Our customers have shown great patience over the past several months and we cannot thank them enough.”
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The creamery halted production early last summer after recalling all of its products over listeria contamination -- the source of which was never found. Blue Bell resumed production at its Sylacauga, Alabama and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma facilities in July and September respectively.
With phase four, the company will reinstate 115 employees that had been put on paid furlough earlier in the year -- bringing the total to nearly 1,000 employees.
"November has been busy for Blue Bell. At the beginning of the month the company entered phase two, less than two weeks later it announced phase three will begin in mid-December (Dec. 14) and its Brenham, Texas, production facility began making ice cream again on Nov. 18," the company said in a prepared statement.
Blue Bell has not said when ice cream produced in Brenham would be placed up for sale.
For now Blue Bell is producing five flavors of ice cream in the half gallon and pint sizes: Buttered Pecan, Cookies ’n Cream, Dutch Chocolate, Homemade Vanilla and The Great Divide. Dickson said the reopening of the Brenham plant has allowed them to build up enough inventory to expand the flavor selection. Which flavors will be added, and when, has not been released.
For more information and to find out where Blue Bell is available visit bluebell.com.