Mocha Moment Creamery

Excellent ice cream:
A family tradition.

Mocha Moment's Mocha Jo Ice Cream

Mocha Moment's Butter Beer Malt

Mocha Moment's Vanilla Chai Ice Cream

In June, 2014, Mocha Moment started making ice cream from scratch. We make 3 flavors: Mocha Jo (our chocolate and espresso), Vanilla Chai (our vanilla chai), and Vanilla (for our milk shakes and malts). Making ice cream was always in my genes. My Grandpa Hey and his 3 brothers founded, owned, and operated Hey Bros. Dairy and Ice Cream Company. Founded in Sterling, Illinois, in 1906, Hey Bros. became a major northern Illinois ice cream producer. When I first came to Janesville (1971), I could buy Hey Bros. ice cream in 4 locations including Woodman's. Hey Bros. expanded with plants in Dixon, DeKalb, and Quincy. Because of its plant in Dixon, President Reagan's hometown, Hey Bros. produced a "Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream" in the 1980's.

I grew up on Hey Bros: On Monday nights, Grandpa Hey drove by our house on the way home from the ice cream plant. Which half gallons of ice cream would we like? Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Butter Brickle, Toasted Almond Fudge, or Vanilla? And would the boys like a case of drumsticks, fudgecicles, or ice cream bars for the week? Our family diet was the traditional America farm meal: meat, potatoes, a vegetable, and milk. No junk food! I was in my 20's, honestly, before I noticed that ice cream was not on the food pyramid foundation alongside meat and potatoes.

Grandpa Hey delivering milk, 1908

Hey Brothers Dairy, Sterling, 1930's

I am often asked, "Do you use the Hey Bros. recipe?" I don't even know the recipe. Mocha Moment produces ice cream in small batches, from scratch, using an entirely different recipe and process. But the tradition of excellence continues. A 1981 Chicago Sun-Times feature on Hey Bros. noted that "Hey Brothers ice cream is commonly known for its unashamed association with butterfat." Without giving away any secrets, let's just say that we have discovered that plenty of butterfat makes very good ice cream!

Hey Brothers Plant
Dixon, 1950's

Hey Brothers and Sisters
Front: Verna, Mary, Ira
Back: Abram, Henry, Clement

Expansion: Clement Hey founded Hey Brothers in 1906 in Sterling, Illinois. Soon, Abram, Henry, and Ira joined first as investors and then as workers. Both sisters, Mary and Verna, invested also. When the Heys purchased the Marshalltown plant in 1913, their father came from California to build a hardening room, and Abram went to Iowa to manage the plant. The brothers expanded to Dixon in 1919, and DeKalb in 1922. In 1924, Abram went to Detroit to learn refrigeration, so that Hey Brothers could install the first electric ice cream cabinets in Illinois. Quiet and reserved, but ever a thinker and entrepreneur, Clement functioned as "president." A people person and the "go to guy," Abram managed dairy operations and ice cream mix production in the Sterling plant. Henry managed the Dixon facility and became a well known and highly respected Dixon businessman. Verna's sons managed the DeKalb plant, which they later sold and opened the Quincy plant. (Ira had been killed in an auto accident in 1932.)

Second Generation
Jim Hey Family, 1964
Jim & Roxy
Sons (left to right): Ward, Jim, Marty

Dixon Plant, Machinery, 1950's

Second Generation: When he returned from WWII service, and graduated from Iowa State, Gene Harshman (Verna's son) had many ideas about improvement and modernization. So Hey Bros. opened a new Dixon plant in 1947. A gifted and insightful businessman, Henry's son, Jim, implemented necessary upgrades at the Dixon plant. With the high quality ice cream, Jim Hey successfully marketed the Hey Brothers brand throughout northern Illinois. For instance, Hey Brothers purchased many store marquees and signs in return for the placement of the Hey Brothers brand name on that sign or marquee (see accompanying photos).

Dixon Plant, Dreamcicles, 1950's
Left: Uncle Henry's grandson, Phil Hey

Dixon Plant, Drumsticks, 1950's

Dixon Plant, Ice Cream, 1950's

Decline: Abram had a heart attack and retired from manager in the early 1950's. Clement was ready to retire soon after and sold the Sterling dairy operation (which they renamed "Green Meadows") to employees; it closed in a few years. Henry continued to manage the Dixon ice cream plant for several more years. Abram worked as bookkeeper at Dixon a day or two a week. Under the guidance of Henry's son, Jim, Hey Brothers experienced a resurgence beginning in the 1960's: Ice cream sales expanded throughout northern Illinois. After his retirement in the 1980's, Jim's son Marty operated Hey Brothers a few more years. The company depended on sales at scores of neigHBorhood grocery stores. With consolidations and the closing of those independent stores, Hey Brothers lost its niche market. Hey Bros. ceased production altogether in the 1990's.

Dixon Plant, Loading Dock, 1950's

Dixon Plant, Delivery, 1950's

Hey Brothers sold its ice cream in scores of businesses of endless variety across northern Illinois.

Fine Dining: Maxson Manor, Oregon

Supper Clubs: On Rock River

Soda Fountains

Supermarkets: People's, Sterling

Roller Rinks

Drive In's

NeigHBorhood Grocery Stores: Wetzel's, Sterling

Truck Stops


Typical Hey Bros. Bunker Freezer

Hey Brothers Ice Cream Firsts

First to install electric ice cream cabinets
in Illinois (1924).
First in Illinois to use square single service containers
for bulk ice cream.
First in the area to sell quart packages of ice cream
filled at the factory.
First in Illinois to package gallons of ice cream
for home use (1927).
First in the area to use pint packages colored
to designate flavor.
First in the area to furnish self-service
ice cream cases.

Typical Aisle with Hey Brothers Ice Cream

Attention Catching Hey Bros. Billboard

Hey Brothers Dairy Firsts

First in Illinois to furnish milk or cream coolers
to farmers to insure premium quality.
First in Illinois to use
Stainless Steel Milk Cans.
First electronic milking parlor in Illinois (1935)
with its "electrified fly killing doors"
as well as parlor and observation separated by glass.

Attention Catching Hey Bros. Billboard

Jim Hey Promotes Hey Bros. Ice Cream

Uncle Clement Honored
in Sterling Gazette series:
"They Helped Make Sterling"

Jim Hey: Owner