Blue Bell ice cream is back.
America’s third-largest ice cream brand, which has cultivated a devoted following of ice cream lovers over the past century, has begun delivering ice cream to select markets after a deadly listeria outbreak caused a summer-long factory shutdown and a recall of 8 million gallons of ice cream.
The deadly bacteria contamination, which was linked to three deaths and several other illnesses, could have meant the end for the 108-year-old ice cream maker, which had previously been cited for listeria problems.
But a Texas oil billionaire came to the rescue with an offer of up to $125 million to keep the brand afloat. The shot in the arm from Sid Bass, a legendary investor known for making big bets on companies like Walt Disney, helped Blue Bell clean up its production facilities and begin churning out ice cream just in time for the end of summer.
Listeria is a serious problem and the shutdown sent a scare across the dairy industry (paywall). But Blue Bell fans, including the governor of Texas, were mostly just happy the ice cream was back on the shelves.