The ice cream man whose taste buds are insured for $1m
The Hustle

The ice cream man whose taste buds are insured for $1m

John Harrison was so good at his job -- tasting ice cream -- that Dreyer’s once insured his taste buds for $1m.


August 4, 2021

John Harrison licking ice cream off his gold plated spoon (Source: YouTube / WISH-TV)

Currently, there are ~30k self-identified pro “tasters” on LinkedIn. But it’s safe to say few have a story like John Harrison’s.

It starts in 1880, when Harrison’s great-grandfather opened 2 ice cream parlors in New York. Some time later, his grandfather started the 1st dairy co-op in Tennessee.

Harrison started out as an assistant taster for his uncle

Eventually, in 1980, Harrison joined Dreyer’s (known as Edy’s in the eastern US) as the company’s head taster, where he retired in 2010.

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In his time at Dreyer’s, Harrison claimed he tasted (but rarely swallowed) a few hundred million gallons of ice cream.

According to Harrison, it’s all in the taste buds

Harrison’s insight was so valuable to Dreyer’s business, they had his buds insured for $1m.

Here’s what Harrison told the LA Times in 1991: “My taste buds… are not necessarily better than anyone else’s, they’ve just been trained.”

Wanna see Harrison in action? Check out this clip. We guarantee you’ve never seen anyone eat or speak about ice cream so eloquently.

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