The Story Behind Ben & Jerry's Cow Mascot

Bovine celebrities, while not plentiful, aren't absent from pop culture. American Dairy lists Minnie Moo, a cow famous for spots shaped like Mickey Mouse on its side, and Little Witch, who earned the title of World's Fastest Cow by running a mile in less than 10 minutes in 2004 among notable cattle. The Holstein that appears on pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream might be on some people's lists, too. As it turns out, it's not just a random depiction of a cow, but an artist's interpretation of his life experiences.

According to Ben & Jerry's, the company has been serving up sweet renditions of ice cream made with milk from cows like the one pictured on its pints since the late 1970s. Ben & Jerry's says that depiction has changed since the brand's earliest days, however, to celebrate the brand's local ties and incorporate the work of a famous watercolor artist.

The man behind the cow

Contrary to any "moo-murs" you might have heard, the cow that adorns Ben & Jerry's ice cream does not have a name or represent a specific actual cow. According to Ben & Jerry's website, the image of a Holstein that appears on each pint and in scoop shops is the result of the company commissioning a local artist, Woody Jackson.

Woody Jackson says that like Ben & Jerry's, he makes his home in Vermont. He began producing watercolors of Holsteins in 1972 after having worked on a dairy farm there. In 1983, Jackson shares, he received the call that made his art a global hit. Ben & Jerry's says they hired Jackson to replace the cartoon cow character the brand had used previously that year and the rest is now history. Jackson added he is still living in Vermont and communing with the cows today.

In a similar fashion, Ben & Jerry's has grown to now offer an entire herd of ice cream flavors, including some dairy-free varieties that cows like the one on the carton had no role in producing and a unique new flavor that is a cookie lover's dream. The next time you hoof it to a store to get some Ben & Jerry's, you can enjoy Woody Jackson's art as you partake.