Dairy Queen

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

Dairy Queen, officially the American Dairy Queen Corporation, or DQ as it is known to its franchisers and fans, is one of the largest fast-food systems in the world today.

The company originated when John Fremont “Grandpa” McCullough and his son Alex operated the Homemade Ice Cream Company in Davenport, Iowa, in 1927. In the early 1930s, they moved their ice cream production into a former cheese factory in Green River, Illinois. The senior McCullough understood that ice cream served as a frozen solid at 5°F (–15°C) numbed the taste buds, and that it tasted more flavorful when soft. By experimenting, he discovered that fresh ice cream dispensed in a semi-frozen, custard-like state at about 23°F (–5°C) had the best flavor. The problem was that in the 1930s no equipment was available for dispensing semi-frozen ice cream that would also keep its shape. See ice cream.