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The History of Dairy Queen Blizzards

The first Dairy Queen location opened in 1940, but Blizzards weren’t added to the menu until 1985. The concept was introduced by a Missouri Dairy Queen franchisee named Samuel Temperato. He based the idea on the offerings of a local business called Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. He added cookie and candy pieces to distinguish his dessert, although he borrowed that idea, too — this time from a bygone custard stand that used to operate in the St. Louis area called Huckleberry’s that had offered several add-ins. He also borrowed the idea to serve Blizzards upside down from Ted Drewes, who had reportedly begun serving his own frozen treats inverted to demonstrate their thickness to a particularly demanding teenage customer. When the Blizzard debuted on Dairy Queen menus in 1985, they were an immediate success. In fact, Dairy Queen sold over 175 million Blizzards the year the treat debuted! Made up of a creamy frozen base studded with cookie and candy pieces and served upside down for flash, it’s easy to see why customers were captivated. However, you may be wondering why Dairy Queen never refers to Blizzards as “ice cream.” In the U.S., FDA regulations stipulate that frozen desserts must contain a minimum of 10% butterfat to legally be called ice cream; Blizzards (as well as the chain's soft serve options) contain just 5%, so they’re billed as “frozen treats.” It’s no secret that Oreo Blizzards are one of the best-selling flavors of all time, but Oreo originally passed on a partnership with Dairy Queen. When Blizzards first debuted, Hydrox cookies were used instead, but once Oreo saw how successful Blizzards had turned out to be, they changed their minds — and the Oreo Blizzard was born! Today, Dairy Queen Blizzards are beloved frozen treats and come in a variety of flavors with many add-ins to choose from.

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