If you’ve ever been to a movie theatre, an amusement park, or even a large event outdoors, you’re probably familiar with Dippin’ Dots. These cool, well-rounded ice cream treats are perfect for a day of summer heat. Dip into some ice-cold facts with 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Dippin’ Dots!
10. They Were Created By A Microbiologist
Ice cream has been around since as far back as 200 B.C., where ancient rulers would enjoy treats flavored with the ice and snow from mountains. Before the 1800s, ice cream was a treat for people with a lot of money. So, by the time Curt Jones, the founder of Dippin’ Dot, got around to playing with it in 1988, it’d been around for a long time. The Dippin’ Dots company had humble beginnings – Curt was a microbiologist working out of his parent’s garage, trying to figure out how to quick-freeze yogurt bacteria in order to use it in the aforementioned cow feed. During his work, he got the idea to start using it to make ice cream, and a year later, Dippin’ Dots were born. He created the confection by flash freezing an ice cream mix in liquid nitrogen. Where did he get his inspiration? Well, Jones grew up on a farm, and as a child, he used to make a lot of homemade ice cream. He’s stated that while working with the yogurt bacteria, he found it fun to play with the little balls that would form. A month or two later, he was making ice cream for a neighbor, when the idea struck him: there’s a way to freeze this faster. He employed the same knowledge that’d he’d been using in his work and wham bam, a new icy snack was born.
9. Cryogenically Frozen Dots
Just like Fry in Futurama or Walt Disney’s head (allegedly), your Dippin’ Dots are also cryogenically frozen! The Dippin’ Dots website says that the process by which our beloved Dippin’ Dots are made is the direct result of Curt Jones’ ‘knowledge of cryogenic technology’. What this means is that the ice cream mix – made up of ice crystals, fat (milk), sweeteners, air, and non-fat milk solids – is encapsulated in a liquid nitrogen cool tank, the temperature of which is 320 below zero. It’s so cold in the tank that the ice cream mix gets flash-frozen into tiny beads. In fact, it takes less than a second to freeze one single Dippin’ Dot, but it makes all the difference. It adds an extra layer of fun to the entire Dippin’ Dots eating experience! While this entire process sounds like something straight out of Back to the Future, it’s actually not as complicated as it seems! All you really need is some ice cream mix and some liquid nitrogen, which is surprisingly easy to acquire nowadays. There’s even a bunch of recipes on the internet on how to make your very own Dippin’ Dots, though in much smaller portions than Curt Jones’ factories, of course.
8. Why You Can’t Find Them At Your Local Grocer
Have you ever noticed that the only place you can get Dippin’ Dots is from their very own Dippin’ Dots branded freezer? The dark blue box has images of our favorite ice cream snacks all over them, advertising all the new deliciously fun flavors. Why can’t you just buy them at your regular grocery store like regular ice cream? Well, in order to keep these dots in shape, they’ve got to stay ice cold. Like, really cold. Forty degrees below zero, to be exact. To put this into perspective, at negative forty degrees, your tears would freeze directly onto your face, and your eyes would be covered in a thin layer of ice. When breathing, ice crystals would pinch on the inside of your lungs. Your nose, chin, and eyelashes would become white due to the snowflake-like frost. In other words, only a Yeti would be able to deal with these temperatures. Well, Yetis and Dippin’ Dots. As you can probably guess, the freezer in your local grocery store doesn’t get that cold, and if you tried to store Dippin’ Dots inside, they would lose their iconic shape. So, until the scientists over at the Dippin’ Dots factories find a way to make these delicious orbs of happiness able to withstand a little bit more heat, the only way you’ll be able to get your hands on these are at amusement parks, movie theaters, or by ordering online (they get delivered on dry ice, but you need to eat them almost immediately before they started melting into formless globs of ice cream.)
7. The Company Filed For Bankruptcy Protection
It’s true, back in 2011, the self-proclaimed Ice Cream of the Future had to file for Chapter 11 federal bankruptcy protection in an attempt to stave off foreclosure on more than $11 million in loans. According to a statement from the company, the bankruptcy was the result of the company’s failure to reach an agreement with its secured lender Regions Financial, following several attempts to do so. In other words, Dippin’ Dots owed Region around $10 million. But wait! There’s even more debt! The company also had $12 million worth of liabilities, owed to Marion, Illinois-based Peoples Bank, and to Quimby Rubber Stamps Shoppe of Paducah, Kentucky. However, Curt Jones assured the public that Dippin’ Dots would keep being made, because what would we do without them? And it was true – a year later, Oklahoma businessman Scott Fischer purchased the company for a whopping $12.7 million, ensuring that Dippin’ Dots could fight to live another day. At the time, Fischer stated that he was committed to making sure Dippin’ Dots reclaimed its status – not as a novelty of the past, but as the ice cream of the future. Why did he buy the company? Well, in an interview with USA Today, he revealed that Dippin’ Dots were a part of his own childhood. He said the first time he’d eaten them – at Six Flags – he’d never tasted anything quite like it, and that he was hooked after the first bite. As he grew into adulthood, he began to appreciate it not only for its taste but also for its innovative character and unique status as a culinary invention. Dippin’ Dots played an important role in his childhood, and he wanted to keep it going to the kids of today. And thank god he did!
6. Dippin’ Dots Dippin’ To Good Deeds
Dippin’ Dots sponsored the Celebrity Grand Slam Paddle Jam table tennis tournament in Hollywood, whose proceeds benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. This was back in 2007, and it was basically a ginormous table tennis tournament, but with a celebrity twist. The celebrities, who included people like Channing Tatum, Brittany Snow, and Gunnar Peterson (as well as a slew of others from NBC, MTV, CBS, TBS, you get the idea) all competed for the Grand Prize, admission to the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Phoenix, AZ for the ultimate 2-day full-throttle driving experience in a Z06 Corvette; including one-night luxury stay at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa, roundtrip airfare on Southwest Airlines, one year of DIRECTV, $200 Gift Certificate to Bin 8945 Wine Bistro, a magnum of Legends Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 from Cosentino Winery Sonoma (full package valued at over $4,500). The tournament was officiated by the USA Table Tennis Association (USATT), the national governing body for the Olympic sport of table tennis in the United States. In the end, Reality Stars ruled as The Real World’s The Miz & Randy Spelling beat outcast members from Heroes, The Hills, Desperate Housewives, Fantastic Four, Seinfeld, and many more. Truly, this entire tournament was a tribute to the early 2000s. If they were able to help out St. Jude’s and fund some life-saving research, it was definitely worth it.
5. There’s A Dippin’ Dots Personality Quiz
Do you ever have trouble deciding which flavor of Dippin’ Dots you should try out? Ever think that there are way too many flavors to choose from, and all those choices are driving you insane? Well, fear no more! Choosing a new flavor is a daunting task indeed, and no easy feat. But luckily, the good people at Dippin’ Dots thought of the perfect way to help you find the exact flavor that fits your personality, with a personality quiz! This short-but-fun seven-question quiz asks you questions like what you would do if you saw your crush at the mall, if you were stuck in a game of dodgeball, and if your phone ran out of battery in the middle of an important text. Obviously, it’s directed more toward a younger audience, but you know what, who cares? Don’t you deserve to know which Dippin’ Dots flavor matches your personality the best? Why should the young people have all the fun? If you’re curious, it’s easy enough to find on Google, and the answer you get might surprise you! Whether you get strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, or any other flavor on their wide spectrum of options, know that you will always be accepted by the Dippin’ Dots community (and such a community exists! They even have a mailing list!)
4. Dippin’ Dots World Record
In 2014, Dippin’s Dots set a Guinness World Record for the most ice cream cups prepared in three minutes. On July 4, a five-person Dippin’ Dots team came together to make that summer memorable for everyone. They prepared 473 cups of Dippin’ Dots in no more than three minutes exactly! The record was set at Let Freedom Sing! In downtown Nashville’s Music City on Independence day. It also marked a celebration for the company of the 30th anniversary of National Ice Cream month (which, let’s be honest, should be a national holiday). And, hey, remember Curt Jones, the founder of Dippin’ Dots? Well, he was also part of the team! He stated in an interview that being at the world record was a fun and unique way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of National Ice Cream Month and that he was thrilled the team had successfully completed the challenge. In conjunction with the attempt, Dippin’ Dots donated 400 servings of ice cream to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. We’re sure that the children at Monroe Carell Jr.’s appreciated the sweet treats as much as anyone! This good deed, paired with the fact that the company also contributes to the charity Give Kids the World Village in Kissimmee, Florida, really helps cement one thing: Dippin’ Dots likes doing good.
3. They’re Branching Out
While you may still love and appreciate the classic circular Dippin’ Dots, the company has been slowly branching out to mix up their menu a little. In an attempt to bring a fresh feel to the company, they’ve introduced some brand new products! You have the original dots, things like strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, and you know how it goes. But did you know they’ve got around thirty flavors? Some of these curious new flavors include cotton candy, birthday cakes, sour-blue razz, unicorn magic, etc, etc. On top of that, they’ve also released Dot Treats, which include things like Dot Sundaes, Dot Shakes, and Dot Quakes. But wait! There’s more! Besides the ice cream-themed snacks, they’ve also released their own type of popping candies – Rockin’ Cherry Ice, as well as Frozeti Confetti. They even have dairy-free dots! Now that’s good news for your lactose intolerant buddies! With over 90 billion consumed annually across fourteen different countries, who knows what we’ll see next, it can only get better from here on out, right?
2. They were In A One-Sided Twitter Feud
Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has an undeniable resentment for these tiny treats, and here’s why. This one-sided feud started way before he became Press Secretary – the first Tweet is dated all the way back in 2010 – but it garnered some new attention in 2017 after his first media briefing. Some of Spicer’s harsh tweets included things such as “Dippin’ Dots is not the ice cream of the future”. These words were the topics of national headlines all throughout the week of his briefing. For some reason, Spicer had beef with these lovable treats. Now, to stay true to the Internet’s humor, a website exists for you to send a box of Dippin’ Dots to Sean Spicer – all in one click (for the low, low price of $6). This website literally only exists to get on Spicer’s nerves, which, you’ve got to admit, is a little funny. Though his insults were pretty harsh, once Dippin’ Dots heard of these tweets, they approached him with grace. They wrote an open letter to the press secretary on their website, inviting him to ‘connect the dots’, so to speak. In the letter, they stated that they understand that ice cream is a serious matter, but that they would rather be friends than foes. Dippin’ Dots suggested doing something like an ice cream social at the White House, and when Sean Spicer responded, he instead said that he wanted to do something for those who have served the nation, as well as first responders. After their open letter, Dippin’ Dots sales went up, proving that the public approved of their political movement. Well, it’s true what they say: ice cream really helps bring everyone together.
1. They Tried (and Failed) To Sue A Competitor
While they might be the “ice cream of the future,” Dippin’ Dots isn’t the only company that hoped to make it big in the circular ice cream business. In fact, because of how simple the process of making Dippin’ Dots is, other companies have started producing extremely similar products. This all came to a head in 1996, when the famous Dippin’ Dots brought a lawsuit against a competitor for patent infringement. It gets a lot juicier: the company, Mini Melts, was started by brothers who’d previously worked with Dippin’ Dots! The brothers were previously distributors for Dippin’ Dots, so you can see why Dippin’ Dots was so mad that they’d gone off and started their very own futuristic dots company. It was like a “you can copy my homework but don’t make it obvious” kind of thing. In 2007, the U.S Patent and Trademark Office ruled against Dippin’s Dots, saying that they hadn’t acquired their patent properly. In other words, they lost their lawsuit as well as the patent on their product. Why? The judge deemed the ice cream recipe was obvious, rather than a property. This was a huge loss for the company and one of the things that led them to file for bankruptcy all the way back in 2011. While Mini Melts is still a major competitor for our beloved Dippin’ Dots, it seems as though both have managed to stay kicking a little while longer.