Big Dipper Partners with UM on Huckleberry Ice Cream

MISSOULA — Lovers of ice cream and the Griz can celebrate two of their favorite things with the release of HuckleBeary, a newly branded flavor from Missoula’s own Big Dipper Ice Cream.

UM alumni Charlie and Barbie Beaton own the Big Dipper, the popular ice cream spot on Missoula’s Hip Strip.

The huckleberry-flavored sweet treat is the brainchild of Charlie and Barbie Beaton, University of Montana alumni and owners of the iconic Big Dipper Ice Cream shop on Higgins Avenue. A portion of the proceeds from selling HuckleBeary benefit UM.

“We just wanted to help our local university,” Charlie Beaton said. “We thought this was a great way to sell ice cream and give back to our alma mater. I was inspired to start a small business by my UM entrepreneurship class, and I think the University is a resource we as a community need to promote and nurture.”

Big Dipper huckleberry has long been a top seller at the company’s scoop locations, but the flavor had never been available in pints before. Since April, the pints — sporting Monte the bear mascot on a UM-inspired maroon container — have been sold in 10 Missoula locations. Those include Albertsons, Big Dipper, Grizzly Grocery, Missoula Fresh Market, Noon’s, Orange Stree Food Farm, Pattee Creek Market, Southgate Market and UM’s Corner Store and Market.

Beaton said sales have been brisk, with HuckleBeary outselling the other Big Dipper pints two to one.

“It’s a great flavor, and hopefully this new partnership will inspire more people to give it a try,” he said.

Erika Palmer, UM’s trademarks and licensing director, said the University works with a variety of vendors to creatively market UM-affiliated products. The makers of these products get to use UM’s image, and in return a portion of sales are passed on to the University as revenue.

“Big Dipper has been a great partner for UM, and we wish them all the success in the world,” Palmer said. “Hopefully customers will fall in love with HuckleBeary like we have, and I hope they get a kick out of the fact they can help UM by eating ice cream.”

For more about Big Dipper and the Beatons, see this story in the fall 2015 issue of the Montanan. The company website is http://www.bigdippericecream.com/, and readers can learn more about UM Trademarks and Licensing at http://www.umt.edu/licensing/.

Big Dipper was recently ranked the best ice cream shop in Montana by Thrillist.

A typical Big Dipper night in Missoula