Las Vegas is a city known for naughtiness, where showgirls walk around in lingerie and the company of women is advertised on handbills.
But even in this climate, a number of grocery stores have kept pints of a certain ice cream off their shelves for fear they may upset customers. The flavor in question: Ben & Jerry’s Schweddy Balls.
“While we do carry many of Ben & Jerry’s varieties, that one we decided to keep out of our mix,” Smith’s spokeswoman Marsha Gifford said. “It has been a decision for Kroger stores across the country. The company felt that from our customers’ perspective, it may be offensive.”
A Mississippi mothers’ group started an action campaign against the ice cream flavor when it was released, calling it “vulgar” and inappropriate for children. Organizers urged members to complain to Ben & Jerry’s about its choice of name and lobby grocery stores to keep the treat out of their freezers.
The rum-flavored vanilla ice cream with chocolate-covered rum malt balls is named after a classic “Saturday Night Live” skit featuring “Pete Schweddy,” a baker played by Alec Baldwin. In the bit, Baldwin shares his “Schweddy Balls” confection with two radio hosts, noting that “no one can resist (his) Schweddy Balls.”
Ben & Jerry’s rolled out the limited-edition flavor for the holiday season. It is stocked on shelves at local Albertson’s stores but is missing from Smith’s and Whole Foods aisles. Both stores carry other Ben & Jerry’s flavors with potentially sensitive names, including Karamel Sutra and Clusterfluff.
Whole Foods spokeswoman Liz Burkhart said the company stocks Schweddy Balls in some geographic areas. The decision on where the ice cream is sold hinges more on the fact that Whole Foods stocks regionally sourced products than moral sensibilities, she said. Marketing coordinator Hilary Maler said some Las Vegas stores did stock Schweddy Balls, but they sold out of the flavor and have no plans to restock it. Workers at three locations reached by the Sun said they never stocked the ice cream, including a Whole Foods manager in Henderson who acknowledged that several customers had requested it.
Albertson’s is one of the few local grocery stores where Schweddy Balls is easy to find. Spokesman Luke Friedrich said it is available in all of the grocery store’s locations but noted that the company decided against marketing the flavor on in-store signs and in circulars.
Customers who have tried the ice cream seem to like it. A Ben & Jerry’s spokesman said Schweddy Balls is the company’s best-selling limited-edition flavor.