A California Tradition Since 1901

Crystal Creamery is California’s oldest dairy with expertise and leadership in caring for our community, environment and cows while embracing the spirit of everything the California Central Valley has to offer.

120 Years and Counting

We've been producing the freshest dairy for our local communities since 1901. See why our promise is as strong today as it was when our doors first opened.
We commemorated our 120th anniversary in the most fitting way we could imagine — by handing out ice cream scoops at the California State Capitol in Sacramento. See the photos of our anniversary celebration.

A Family Business Gets its Start

Crystal Creamery brand dairy products have been a part of California for well over 100 years. Founded by George Knox in 1901 — and originally known as Crystal Cream & Butter — Crystal started in the back of a small grocery store in Sacramento, California. That’s where George and Caroline Knox churned butter.

Period of Expansion

Twenty years later in 1921, Crystal was purchased by Carl Hansen, a Danish immigrant. The Hansen family led the company for 86 years and pioneered many new technologies, growing Crystal into one of the last large independent dairy processors in the state of California. This was the beginning of the expansion of Crystal’s family of products to include milk, cottage cheese, sour cream and ice cream.

Keeping with Tradition

In 2007, Crystal Creamery continued under the ownership of a family-owned dairy business with the purchase by Foster Dairy Farms. Foster Dairy Farms was founded in 1941 by Max and Verda Foster, and continues the tradition of nourishing families with simple, delicious ingredients and the freshest dairy from local farms. Over the years, Crystal Creamery expanded its capabilities, and today, we are the largest privately owned dairy in California, producing products under the Crystal Creamery, McColl’s and Humboldt Creamery brands.

Max & Verda Foster

Crystal Creamery 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: 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.
  • 1970: Sales top $25 million.
  • 1985: Crystal purchases McColl’s Dairy of Redding.
  • 1996: Crystal moves manufacturing from D Street to Belvedere Avenue in Sacramento, a new state-of-the-art bottling facility.
  • 2007: Crystal becomes part of the Foster Dairy Farms family of brands.
  • 2009: Foster Dairy Farms purchases Humboldt Creamery
  • 2010: Foster Farms Dairy changes name to Crystal Creamery
  • 2020: Crystal redesigns its packaging and introduces a new ice cream recipe using simple, clean ingredients in 29 flavors.
  • 2023: Crystal Creamery named "Green Business of the Year" by the Modesto Chamber of Commerce.

    Together We’re Better

    Our employees are part of our family, embodying our values of excellence, honesty and quality, and dedicated to creating extraordinary products.

    “Leading a family owned company means taking care of our people. Together we are dedicated to producing the most trustworthy products in the industry.”

    Dennis Roberts, President & CEO

    Local is Fresh

    The key to great tasting milk is the source. We take pride in delivering the freshest, most nutritious dairy to our community every day.

    Experts in Dairy and Smiles

    With over a century of dairy expertise, we have grown our manufacturing capabilities to service a wide variety of business partner needs.