The Creamery on Ninth East has been a part of life at Brigham Young University for decades. Here’s an inside look into the history of the Creamery on Ninth as students know it today, how Creamery on Ninth ice cream is made and what really makes Graham Canyon so delicious.
Check out the timeline below for a history of the BYU Creamery.
The BYU Dairy Products Laboratory opened in 1949 and provided milk and dairy products for BYU Campus. This early version of the Creamery on Ninth had a sales room where customers could buy fresh dairy products such as milk, cheese and ice cream. The Dairy Products Lab is now home to BYU Dining Services on the northeast corner of campus.
In 1954, the Dairy Products Lab joined forces with BYU’s Animal Science Department. Students studying agricultural science, food science and animal science helped out with dairy production and maintenance of the laboratory.
The milk at the Dairy Products Lab comes from the dairy herd in Elberta, Utah, owned and operated by the LDS Church since 1946. According to a 1975 record of BYU history, by 1959 the average BYU dairy cow was producing 6,276 quarts of milk and 470 pounds of butter, much more than the average dairy cow at that time.
In addition to churning out the famous ice cream, the Dairy Products Lab also supplies the Creamery with cottage cheese, sour cream, yogurt, cheese curds and ranch dressing.
Before sending the ice cream off to campus, the Dairy Products Lab stores the 3-gallon containers of ice cream in a giant freezer kept at -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Dining Services serves up an average of 60 3-gallon containers of ice cream on campus each day. According to Dining Services statistics, more than 191,000 gallons of Creamery ice cream are served each year. For more details on the ice cream creation process, visit this 2012 Universe article.
The Creamery prides itself on its quality ice cream. The ice cream is so thick and creamy because it contains 2 to 4 percent more butterfat than most other ice cream recipes.
The most popular ice cream flavor at the Creamery is Graham Canyon, which is a mix of vanilla ice cream, graham cracker bits and honeycomb candy.
BYU Dining Services Executive Chef John McDonald creates new ice cream flavors for the Creamery. The latest of these new flavors is Rose’s Sneakerdoodle, named for men’s basketball coach Dave Rose. Coach Rose is just one of several BYU celebrities to have an ice cream flavor created specifically for them. Former BYU football coach LaVell Edwards earned the classic flavor LaVell’s Vanilla; Ernest L. Wilkinson inspired Earnestly Chocolate; former BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall inspired Bronco’s Cocoa Bean; former BYU President Cecil Samuelson is immortalized in Whoosh Cecil; and even Cosmo the Cougar spurred the creation of Cosmo’s Peanut Butter Crunch.
Cordell Briggs, assistant director of dining services, talked to BYUtv about the ice cream-making process in an episode of Backstage BYU.
“I love the science of it (making Creamery ice cream) and the challenge of it,” Briggs said. “I like … being part of an organization where we have a reputation for being the best.”
Eating ice cream at the BYU Creamery is a long-held tradition for students and alumni. Fans of BYU football and basketball love to grab an ice cream cone after the game. Alumni ensure they visit the Creamery with their families on return visits to BYU campus. There’s even a tradition for female BYU students to buy a roommate Creamery ice cream after she kisses her boyfriend for the first time.
The Creamery releases a new flavor of ice cream for the incoming BYU freshman class at each New Student Orientation. This tradition began in 2011 with the creation of the Mint Brownie ice cream flavor.
Watch the video below, produced by BYU Dining Services, to see how milk from a dairy farm is transformed into the famous BYU ice cream.