Welcome to the Challenge Dairy 100 Year History Timeline

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Looking Back 100 Years

A lot has happened in the past century, clearly the most industrialized period of time in history. And although we have grown and introduced significant advances for how we churn, package, transport, and test our butter, our recipe and commitment to quality has remained the same. Let’s take a look back at some of the memorable events of the past 100 years.

Play Challenge Trivia

Throughout the timeline we’ve added a few interesting bits of trivia. Each correct answer is worth 10 points. Test your knowledge and then post your score to Twitter or Facebook to challenge your friends. Good luck!

  • Unanswered Question (TapClick to answer!)

  • Correct Answer

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  1. 1910s
  2. 1911

    The First Day of Challenge Dairy

    The First Day

    On January 2, 1911, The Challenge Cream & Butter Company opened for business in a rented storeroom in Los Angeles to sell the products of cooperative creamery associations in Riverdale and Tulare. The staff consisted of a manager, assistant manager, bookkeeper, and delivery salesman. Four people. The new company owned a wagon, but had to rent a horse to pull it.

  3. 1916

    Danish Creamery Association

    An Association is Born

    We officially change our name to Challenge Cream & Butter Association after The Danish Creamery Association (Fresno, CA) joins Challenge.

  1. 1920s
  2. 1921

    Production Reaches Idaho

    The first out-of-state creamery companies (Idaho) joins Challenge.

  3. 1923

    Product Quality Testing Began

    Always conscious of quality and flavor of its butter, Challenge began in 1923 to incubate a sample of butter from each churning of butter received from all sources in small, tightly covered jars at 80°F for three days. This system, first developed by Challenge, protected our customers and the Challenge goodwill.

  4. 1925

    Marketing Branch opened in San Francisco

    A Challenge San Francisco marketing branch was formally opened on September 1, 1925

    Challenge Dairy Product Quality Testing
  1. 1930s
  2. 1932

    Star Valley Cheese Co. joined Challenge

    The introduction and eventual popularity of Swiss cheese was shaped by this association and the quality of products from Star Valley.

    Star Valley joined Challenge Dairy
  3. 1935

    Challenge Enters Fluid Milk Business

    Challenge enters fluid milk business as a major competitor and survives a very tumultuous price war.

  4. 1937

    Challenge Expands Into Oregon

    Challenge continues to expand its production throughout the west.

  1. 1940s
  2. 1941

    Challenge Dairy employees from 1941

    Government Requisitioning

    World War II laid a heavy hand on Challenge Cream & Butter Association and on its local associations. Our government commandeered large percentages of the products which Challenge had been marketing. Challenge’s consumer supply of butter dropped from 52,000,000 pounds per year to a minimum of under 1,000,000.

  3. 1947

    San Jose Milk Distribution Plant Opens

  4. 1948

    “Push-Button” Plant Opens in Berkeley

    Challenge’s most innovative plant at the time, a cutting-edge facility and inspiration to the dairy industry.

  1. 1950s
  2. 1951

    Refrigerated Delivery Trucks

    During the 50’s, Challenge began equipping its delivery trucks with refrigerated units for perfectly delivered products.

    Challenge Dairy Milk Delivery Truck
  3. 1955

    Instant Nonfat Dry Milk

    Challenge introduces Instant Nonfat Dry Milk in consumer size packages. It found a remarkable and growing sales acceptance in all areas.

  4. 1956

    Challenge Dairy Gold Medal Winning Products

    Gold Medals Stacking Up

    Over 250 Gold Medals for purity and quality (as of 1956), were won for products being produced, manufactured and distributed by Challenge and included the following: Butter - Cheddar Cheese - Ice Cream - Instant Nonfat Milk Powder - Fresh Milk - Eggs - Evaporated Milk - Cheese Spreads - Whole Milk Powder - Swiss Cheese - Fluid by-products - Cottage Cheese - Variety - Process Cheese - Animal Feed Powder - Sour Cream - Ice Cream Mix

  1. 1960s
  2. 1961

    Challenge Dairy Turns 50

    Challenge Turns 50!

    In 50 years, we went from 12 pounds on butter sold on day 1 to aggregate sales of over 20 million individual packages per month in 1961.

  3. 1965

    Challenge Dairy Metal Churn

    Another Innovation: First Metal Churn

    Challenge introduced the stainless steel churn. Company managers laughed at the ridiculous size and obscurity of the unusual machine, but it caught on and soon every butter company had one.

  1. 1970s
  2. 1974

    Challenge Splits, Changes Name

    Because of the shrinking market of Challenge brand fluid milk and by-products, it was decided that Challenge be divided into two organizations, namely, Challenge Foods Company and Pacific Dairymen, Inc. Pacific Dairymen, Inc. was eventually dissolved in 1978.

    Challenge Splits, Changes Name
  3. 1977

    Challenge Changes Name One More Time

    Shortly after the formation of Challenge Foods Company, Challenge decided to abandon the liquid milk product business completely and focus on hard products. The resulting organization was called Challenge Dairy Products, Inc., which is what we still are today.

  4. 1979

    Challenge Expands into Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii

    Challenge products continue to become available in more places throughout the west, requiring more marketing and advertising programs.

  1. 1980s
  2. 1981

    Computer System Approved by Board

    Our first significant computing system purchase required approval by the Board. The system was approved in May, and the data conversion was completed later on that year. The entire memory capacity of that system was less than any small photo you can find online today.

    Challenge Dairy Computer System Approved by Board
  3. 1986

    Challenge Turns 75!

    The 75th Anniversary was celebrated with a historic slide show of the early beginnings of Challenge (remember slides?), a sheet cake that was 5 feet long, and commemorative 75th Anniversary china dinner plates and mugs. Several of the employees we still have today celebrated that magnificent milestone with us.

    Challenge Dairy Turns 75!
  1. 1990s
  2. 1991

    80 Years of Quality

    In a June newspaper article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Challenge Unsalted Butter was ranked first in a taste test by a panel to have the best butter flavor, color, texture and overall quality, ahead of Land O’ Lakes, European Gourmet, Lucerne, Clover Stornetta, Lady Lee and Darigold. Challenge Parmesan Cheese came in second (behind Stella) out of seven brands tested.

    80 Years of Quality
  3. 1995

    Joins U.S. Dairy Export Council

    Challenge Dairy Products, Inc. becomes a member of the newly formed U.S. Dairy Export Council in Washington, D.C.

    Challenge Dairy Joins U.S. Dairy Export Council
  1. 2000s
  2. 2003

    European Butter Launched at Retail

    European Butter has several interesting characteristics and will give you plenty to rave about including its origin and product attributes. Challenge is one of the leading brands within this segment.

  3. 2005

    Spreadable 8 oz. Launched at Retail

    Spreadable is now the fasting growing segment within Butter and Challenge is one of the leading selling brands.

  4. 2007

    rBST Free Products

    As of the summer of 2007, Challenge Butter no longer includes the growth hormone rbST or any other hormones. We are the only leading butter company to not include hormones in our butter.

    Challenge Dairy is rBST Free!
  1. 2010s
  2. 2011

    Challenge turns 100!

    100 years could not have been possible without the loyalty of our fantastic customers. Thank you! Now on to our second century...

    Challenge Dairy turns 100!

points

Really? You must have missed a few. Ok, we'll give you 100 years to study for the next Trivia Challenge.

Good news! You got some right. Better wait on that Jeopardy contestant application though. How will your friends do?

Great score! (Yeah, a few of those were tricky.) Challenge your friends to see if they can do better.

Wow, perfect score! Someone was paying attention. Great job! You gotta tell your friends.

  1. 1912

    The Titanic Sinks

    Titanic sinks
  2. 1914

    World War I Begins

  3. 1915

    Einstein's Theory of General Relativity

  4. 1917

    U.S. Gets Involved in WWI

  1. 1920

    Women's Right to Vote

  2. 1922

    Tomb of King Tut Discovered

  3. 1928

    Micky Mouse Created

    Micky Silhouette
  4. 1929

    Black Tuesday and Great Depression Begins

  1. 1932

    Amelia Earhart Flies Across Atlantic

  2. 1933

    Construction of Golden Gate Bridge Begins

    Golden Gate Bridge
  3. 1939

    First Commercial Television Broadcast

  1. 1941

    Pearl Harbor Attacked

    Apollo 11
  2. 1945

    World War II Ends

  3. 1947

    Dead Sea Scrolls Found

  1. 1951

    Color TV Introduced

    Vintage TV
  2. 1954

    Elvis Presley Signs First Record Deal

  3. 1955

    Polio Vaccine Found

  4. 1958

    NASA Established

  1. 1961

    Alan Shepard Becomes First American in Space

  2. 1963

    Julia Child Airs First Cooking Show

  3. 1969

    Apollo 11 Lands on the Moon

    Apollo 11
  1. 1971

    Intel Invents Single-Chip Microprocessor

  2. 1973

    Sears Tower Built

    Sears Tower
  3. 1977

    Star Wars Movie Released

  1. 1980

    Titanic Found

  2. 1982

    Michael Jackson Releases Thriller

  3. 1984

    Apple Launches Macintosh Computer

    Apple Launches Macintosh Computer
  4. 1989

    Dismantling of the Berlin Wall Begins

  1. 1992

    The “World Wide Web” Introduced

    Sears Tower
  2. 1997

    Dolly Becomes First Successful Cloning

  3. 1999

    Euro Established as Official Currency of Europe

  1. 2001

    September 11th

  2. 2008

    Phelps Wins Record 8 Gold Medals

    Olympic Rings
  3. 2009

    Miracle on the Hudson

  1. Trivia Question #1

    On Challenge's first day of business, how many pounds of butter were sold?

    1. A:12 pounds

    2. B:1,200 pounds

    3. C:12,000 pounds

    Hot dog!

    On our first day of business, the delivery boy delivered 12 pounds of butter with a one-horse wagon. (We owned the wagon, but the horse was rented.)

    My stars, that's a lot.

    We actually sold 12 pounds of butter on our first day. It wasn’t much, but it was a start.

  2. Trivia Question #2

    Who was the manufacturer of our first delivery truck?

    1. A:Kia

    2. B:Ikea

    3. C:Kissel Kar

    Spiffy!

    Our first delivery truck was a Kissel Kar. Golly, if we still had it, it would be one swanky collector’s item by now.

    Oh, for goodness sakes!

    Our first delivery truck was made by Kissel Kar. Golly, if we still had it, it would be one swanky collector’s item by now.

  3. Trivia Question #3

    After nine years of business, what was our average daily sales?

    1. A:15 pounds

    2. B:15,000 pounds

    3. C:150,000 pounds

    Way to go!

    That was a doozy. By 1920, we were selling 15,000 pounds of quality butter each day.

    Sorry, that was a doozy!

    By 1920, we were selling 15,000 pounds of quality butter each day.

  4. Trivia Question #4

    Which candy retailer started using Challenge Butter in their products exclusively starting in 1923?

    1. A:Skittles

    2. B:Wrigley's

    3. C:See's Candy

    Nifty answer!

    We love See's candy and appreciate our 88+ year relationship with them.

    Oh, fiddlesticks.

    I was hoping you’d say See's Candy. We love their candies and appreciate our 88+ year relationship with them.

  5. Trivia Question #5

    Challenge Butter goes great with many things, including toast. When was sliced bread invented?

    1. A:1906

    2. B:1928

    3. C:1984

    Bingo!

    Now you know, "The greatest thing since sliced bread" really means "The greatest thing since 1928."

    Awh, shucks!

    When someone says something is "the greatest thing since sliced bread," they mean it’s the greatest thing since 1928.

  6. Trivia Question #6

    In 1932, Challenge decided to cut the heavy and inconvenient 200 pound wheels of _______________ into loaves of 5 to 10 pounds each, making it easier to sell and transport?

    1. A:Michelin's

    2. B:Goodyear's

    3. C:Swiss Cheese

    You're doing swell!

    Challenge has sold many different dairy products throughout the years, Swiss cheese included, and these innovative packages were the first long-keeping, suitably formed Swiss cheese packages ever manufactured.

    Jeepers!

    That doesn’t make sense. Challenge has sold many different dairy products throughout the years, Swiss cheese included, and these innovative packages were the first long-keeping, suitably formed Swiss cheese packages ever manufactured.

  7. Trivia Question #7

    In 1939, what was the average price of butter per pound?

    1. A:

    2. B:10¢

    3. C:31¢

    Say, you're getting good!

    At that time, butter was about 31¢ per pound. Gosh, it sure would be nice to have those prices today.

    Yikes!

    If it was that low, we might not have made it 100 years. At that time, butter was about 31¢ per pound. Gosh, it sure would be nice to have those prices today.

  8. Trivia Question #8

    In 1919, Challenge’s total sales were a little less that $2.5 million. What were they in 1945?

    1. A:$10 million

    2. B:$25 million

    3. C:$49,707,271

    What a whipper snapper!

    By the end of the second world war, Challenge had grown its sales to just under $50 million annually.

    Gee wiz!

    By the end of the second world war, Challenge had grown its sales to just under $50 million annually.

  9. Trivia Question #9

    Our delivery fleet numbered over 500 vehicles in 1956. How many miles did they drive annually?

    1. A:6.5 thousand miles

    2. B:6.5 million miles

    3. C:6.5 billion miles

    Neat!

    At the time, we served over 20,000 food dealers and establishments on a regular basis. Our fleet of cars and trucks traveled approximately 6.5 million miles a year.

    Golly!

    At the time, we served over 20,000 food dealers and establishments on a regular basis. Our fleet of cars and trucks traveled approximately 6.5 million miles a year.

  10. Trivia Question #10

    Challenge is owned and operated by dairy farmer families. How many dairy farmer families were in the association in the early 1960's?

    1. A:100

    2. B:18,000

    3. C:100,000

    Far Out!

    Over the years there has been tremendous consolidation and farming is not as prevalent as it once was. Today, there are only about 500 farmer families.

    Holy Mackerel!

    We actually had about 18,000 farmer families. Over the years there has been tremendous consolidation and farming is not as prevalent as it once was. Today, there are only about 500 farmer families.

  11. Trivia Question #11

    In 1977, Challenge made the strategic decision to focus on “hard products.” Which of the following is not a hard product?

    1. A:Butter

    2. B:Liquid Milk

    3. C:Cheese

    Outtasight!

    Due to faltering liquid milk profits in the 70’s, the decision was made to spin off the fluid business as a separate company and reorganize Challenge into a new cooperative focused on hard products.

    Oh man!

    Liquid Milk is considered a fluid dairy product, and due to faltering liquid milk profits in the 70’s, the decision was made to spin off the fluid business as a separate company and reorganize Challenge into a new cooperative focused on hard products.

  12. Trivia Question #12

    What kind of computer system did we purchase back in 1981?

    1. A:Abacus 5000

    2. B:Archimedes II

    3. C:IBM Series/1

    Cool!

    The acquisition of an IBM Series/1 computer was necessary for increased computing capacity. We converted data from the former equipment (Basic Four) to the IBM Series/1.

    Like, gag me.

    The acquisition of an IBM Series/1 computer was like, totally necessary for increased computing capacity. We converted data from the former equipment (Basic Four) to the IBM Series/1 in like, a few months.

  13. Trivia Question #13

    Challenge has become one of our nation’s leading exporters of butter. What percentage of the total U.S. exported butter does Challenge represent?

    1. A:Over One-Third

    2. B:Under One-Third

    3. C:Over 100%

    Party On!

    Exporting American-made products is good for country. By 2010, Challenge Butter accounted for over one-third of the total exported butter.

    Shaww, as if!

    Exporting American-made products is good for country. By 2010, over one-third of the total exported butter came from Challenge.

  14. Trivia Question #14

    In 2004, we began a foodservice relationship with which U.S. organization?

    1. A:U.S. Military

    2. B:United Nations

    3. C:Nato

    “Like it”

    Challenge is honored and proud to supply its full line of products to U.S. military bases around the world.

    Nope.

    Challenge is honored and proud to supply its full line of products to U.S. military bases around the world.

  15. Trivia Question #15

    Real quality comes from real ingredients. In 2007, Challenge made the decision to completely remove which additive from all of its products?

    1. A:Cream

    2. B:Salt

    3. C:rBST

    ROFL! #awesome

    As of 2007, Challenge Butter no longer includes the growth hormone rbST (recombinant bovine somatotropin) or any other hormones. We are the only leading butter company to not include hormones in our butter.

    Oh snap!

    As of 2007, Challenge Butter no longer includes the growth hormone rbST (recombinant bovine somatotropin) or any other hormones. We are the only leading butter company to not include hormones in our butter.