History of the Blizzard
History of the Blizzard Flavor Treat
History of the Blizzard®
A Blizzard-like product was in the DQ® system since the early 1950s. But it was a very loose affiliation of franchisees back then and the idea struggled. At that time it was a shake with less milk. They tried no milk at all...just soft serve and fruit topping. Though customers lliked it, it was extra work and the shake was too thick. Franchisees got tired of burning out mixers, so it just faded away.
Fast forward 35 years and we began seeing independent ice cream shops that were mixing slabs of hard ice cream with candy. In St. Louis, one of our entrepreneurs added milk and blended everything together (spring of 1984). The idea traveled to Minneapolis and we knew it was a very big idea and we could market it nationally.
We needed to determine how thick the product needed to be, whether we would add milk (we decided no milk) or add candy...we originally decided no candy. A name? We tried the Concrete Blizzard. It didn't perform well with consumers. We pulled the product and started over again.
After two DQ franchisees developed a high-powered mixer, we looked at the product once more and determined that by adding branded candy we would have instant equity at no charge. We approached Heath, who bought a candy crusher and supplied DQ stores with bags of Heath bar bits. Soon, their Illinois plant went to capacity, crushing Heath candy bars 24 hours a day.
Oreo® originally told us we were crazy. Mars® said they would never alter their product (M&Ms). However, Hydrox® cookies said "yes."
By the end of 1985, Oreo and Mars changed their minds and signed up but none of them wanted to crush the product, so our operators did it themselves. However, that was too labor intensive. We accidentally created a cottage industry of candy and cookie crushers.
Though the product was introduced to franchisees at our 1984 DQ convention in Hawaii, it went into brief test market in the winter of 1984-85 and was officially launched in the spring of 1985. It was available in 10, 16 and 24 ounce cups. It was served upsidedown with a spoon on the side.
The Blizzard Flavor Treat became an overnight sensation.
On May 2, 1985 the DQ system launched a network TV campaign for the Blizzard treat, combining the power of TV, the brand equity of Oreo, Mars and the like and the allure of DQ soft serve. We sold more than 75 million Blizzard Flavor Treats that first year.
Fun Facts about the Blizzard Flavor Treat
- Since its introduction in 1985, more than 75 Blizzard Flavors have been introduced by the Dairy Queen® system.
- Most popular flavors: Oreo Cookie, Chocolate Chip cookie dough; M&Ms; Reese's Peanut Butter Cup; Butterfinger
- The largest Blizzard ever made: July 1, 1999 in Chicopee, Mass. The DQ operator made the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest frozen blended treat. The product was: 22 feet high and 7 feet in diameter. It took 1,070 lbs of Oreo cookies to make and weighed 7,000 lbs.
- In August, 2002, a man coined "the DQ Blizzard Guy" completed his goal of eating a Blizzard Flavor Treat in every state with a visit to a Dairy Queen restaurant in Alaska for his 50th Blizzard treat.
1985 Fun Facts
- A U.S. Stamp cost 22 cents
- Ronald Reagan took oath for second term as president
- The #1 song was "I Want To Know What Love Is" by Foreigner
- "Back to the Future" was the top grossing film
- Most popular television show was "The Cosby Show"
- The average price of a 16 oz. Blizzard Treat was $1.39
Blizzard Flavor History
1985 - Year Introduced
Reese's Pieces Candy
Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (Oreo, Droxie)
Peanut Butter Crunch
Turtlettes (Pecan Cluster)
Chocolate Covered Cherries
Standard Toppings (Chocolate, Hot Fudge, Strawberry, Butterscotch or Pineapple)
Featured: Cherry, Strawberry, Blueberry
M&M®'s Peanut Candy
Nestle® Crunch Bar
Nerds® Candy Orange, Strawberry, Cherry
Cinnamon Toast Crunch®
Mint Chocolate Cookie
Rainbow Nerds® Candy
Reese's® Peanut Butter Cup
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Fudge Pecan Brownie
Peanut Butter and Jelly
Berry Banana with Vienna Fingers
Georgia Mud Fudge®
Grape Kool-Aid® Explosion
Mocha Chip with Nescafe®
**Blizzard of the Month program introduced in July
Yule Flip Peppermint Chip
All-American (Red White and Blue M&Ms)
Choco Cherry LoveTM
Keebler® Fudge Stripe
Peanut Butter Oreo®
Caramel Apple PopTM
Twix® or Treat
CheeseQuakeTM Line Strawberry, Toffee and Oreo
Chocolate French Silk Pie
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries