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The ‘rocky road’ that led to delicious ice cream

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Oakland, California, 1929. Not an easy place to live in following the Wall Street Crash that year. ‘Pipe City’, a large shantytown to house the city’s poor, is growing-up on the waterfront, and jobs are difficult to come by.

But adversity can lead to triumph, and in this difficult climate Joseph Edy and William Dreyer, of Edy’s Grand Ice Cream, are busy, mixing what is now one of the world’s favourite ice cream flavours.

Dreyer's ice cream

“Let’s mix that chocolate ice cream with some marshmallows,” said WIlliam. “Something’s still missing!” cried Joe. “Chocolate chunks?” “Yeah. And pass me the walnuts, will yah? Man, this is good!”

And so Rocky Road was born. Its name was a play on words referring to the yummy chocolate chunks, but also the ‘rocky road’ that people had to walk during America’s Great Depression.


Joe and William marketed Rocky Road using the slogan ‘Share a Scoop, Share a Smile’, which survives to this day. The company became hugely successful in the Bay Area of California. In 1947 Joe left the business, and William changed its name to Dreyer’s.

In the 1950s Dreyer’s ice creams were cool, but its rivals’ products were hot, and the firm’s profits began to melt. But the brand picked up in the 1970s and became the best-loved premium ice cream in the western US.

When Dreyer’s expanded in mid-western and eastern US in 1981, its name clashed with another ice cream brand, Breyers. To avoid confusion, Dreyer’s resurrected the Edy’s name to sell ice cream in some states.

Dreyer's ice cream

Today the brand has two names but one winning formula, as recent innovations like slow-churned ice cream show.

Read more about Dreyer's and Edy's