Who Are Ben and Jerry, Really?

If you’re ever in Vermont, and the vivid foliage, covered bridges, and quaint small towns just aren’t enough to pique your interest, head to the Ben & Jerry’s Factory, which is located in Waterbury, VT. There, you can get an extensive tour of their world famous flavors, the evolution of the company, and the history of its founders. 

However, not all of us are lucky enough to be bored in Vermont. So, if you’ve never taken the Ben & Jerry’s tour before, here’s some info about the dynamic duo. 

Who are Ben and Jerry?

Ben & Jerry’s, the brand, is a popular ice cream distributor, known for its quirkily-named flavors like Cherry Garcia, Half Baked, and Phish Food that usually contain some sort of chunky treat mixed in. Ben and Jerry, the people, are the founders of the company. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were childhood friends who met growing up in Merrick, New York. In 1977, the two of them completed an ice cream making correspondence course from Pennsylvania State University and opened their first shop in a converted gas station in Burlington, Vermont. The rest is history! 

Are Ben and Jerry married?

A common question that people ask about the duo is: Are Ben and Jerry married? Well, if you mean to each other, the answer is no. They’re just two friends who love making ice cream. The confusion perhaps arises from their outspoken support of gay marriage (as well as numerous other liberal causes). But the question is common enough that their official website has a clarification about it. In truth, Jerry Greenfield has been married since 1988 and Ben Cohen was married in 1990 and has since divorced. 

Are Ben and Jerry still alive?

Many people also want to know: Are Ben and Jerry still alive? I’m happy to report they are indeed. As of this writing, Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen are both 71 years old and still occasionally make public appearances. Does this mean that eating lots of ice cream is the secret to longevity? I can’t say for certain but it seems like a pretty good theory that we should investigate further. 

Who owns Ben and Jerry’s?

If you’re wondering who owns Ben & Jerry’s, the answer is that as of 2000 it’s a wholly owned subsidiary of British mega-food-conglomerate Unilever, which is the parent company of basically every food product ever. One cool thing is that as part of the acquisition, Unilever agreed to continue the company’s legacy of involvement in positive social causes. Ben and Jerry themselves are also still involved with the company, though they are quick to point out that they have few responsibilities or decision-making duties. 

Why are there so many mix-ins?

I’ve saved the most interesting tidbit for the end. Did you know that Ben has a condition known as anosmia or “smell blindness,” and their ice cream has its characteristic chunks to add an enjoyable mouthfeel? 

Well, now that you know everything there is to know about these ice cream-making icons, you’re super prepared to be an annoying know-it-all on the Ben & Jerry’s tour if you ever find yourself bored in Vermont.

best ben & jerry's flavors

Best Ben & Jerry’s Flavors

Now that you know all about the founders, find out about the best ice cream that Ben & Jerry’s makes. We tasted all the flavors and picked the best ones.

About the Author

Matt Crowley

Matt Crowley is a comedy writer living in Los Angeles. He likes maple-flavored snacks, loves every kind of cheese, and is slowly learning to accept mushrooms.

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