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Crystal Dairy Products, A California Tradition

Crystal brand dairy products have been a part of California for over 100 years. Throughout our history we have remained committed to providing the freshest, local dairy products.

Founded by George Knox in 1901 we were originally known as Crystal Cream & Butter. Crystal started in the back of a small grocery store located at 728 K Street in Sacramento, California. That is where George and Caroline Knox churned butter. Twenty years later in 1921, Crystal was purchased by Carl Hansen, a Danish immigrant. When Hansen purchased Crystal, the products were still limited to butter and cream but in 1931 under Hansen’s leadership Crystal offered Sacramento its first bottled milk. This was the beginning of the expansion of Crystal’s family of products to include such products as cottage cheese, sour cream, ice cream and yogurt. The Hansen family was recognized as leaders in the dairy industry, pioneering many new technologies and growing Crystal into one of the last large independent dairy processors in the state of California. The Hansens ran the company for 86 years before selling to HP Hood, LLC.

In 2007, family-operated Foster Farms Dairy purchased Crystal bringing the brand back to its family-owned roots. Foster Farms Dairy was founded in 1941 by Max and Verda Foster and is still family-owned and operated. Today the company is led by Jeff Foster, grandson of the founders. Since becoming part of the Foster Farms Dairy family, the Crystal brand has continued its century old tradition of providing the highest quality, freshest, local dairy products. That’s why when it comes to feedng your family, the choice is clear… Crystal.

The Crystal Brand Through The Years


1901: Crystal Cream & Butter Co. is incorporated by George Gordon Knox and Associates in San Francisco. The original churning operation is! at 728 K St. in Sacramento.
1921: The Hansen family buys Crystal. At the time of purchase, Crystal had 10 employees and two trucks.
1926: Crystal offers milk packaged in glass bottles.
1930: Crystal milk sales surpass butter sales, Crystal ice cream is introduced.
1939: Crystal introduces milk packaged in waxed cardboard carton.
1941: Crystal changes from a corporation to a partnership. Carl and his sons, Vernon, Kenneth and Gerald, become equal partners.
1951: Crystal turns 50 and the Crystal Dairy Maid is created
1955: Sales top $10 million.
1967: Sales top $20 million.
1970: Sales top $25 million.
1983: Donald K. Hansen named president.
1985: Crystal purchases McColl's Dairy of Redding
1989: Crystal introduces Light & Less Ice Cream and farm scene logo is introduced.
1996: Crystal moves manufacturing from D Street to Belvedere Avenue in Sacramento, a new state of the art bottling facility.
2001: Crystal turns 100.
2007: HP Hood LLC of Chelsea, Mass., buys Crystal.
2007: Crystal becomes part of the Foster Farms Dairy family of brands.
2008: New packaging is introduced on all Crystal dairy products.
2009: Crystal partners with the American Heart Association.
2010: The choice is clear. Crystal. promotional campaign is introduced.
2011: Crystal promotes ice cream with billboard campaign throughout Northern California.


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