The Surprising Difference Between East Coast and West Coast Butter

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When comparing the East Coast and West Coast of the United States, we'd expect there to be many differences — but we didn't think butter would be one of them. Yet, according to an ad found by Panic Inc. co-founder Cabel Sasser, there is a noticeable difference between the two butters.


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On Twitter, Sasser wrote, "I'm sorry, what," followed by an advertisement for an Amazon product called Butter Hub. This is the image that was shared:

As you can see, the "smarter butter dish" claims to hold both East and West Coast butter. Below the text, there's even an image of two differently sized sticks of butter on the same dish. Is this actually true? Are West Coast sticks of butter shorter than East Coast sticks?


The answer is surprisingly yes — East Coast butter is actually longer and narrower than West Coast butter.

During a conversation with nonprofit news organization Marketplace, John Bruhn — who was once the director of the University of California's Dairy Research and Information Center — revealed that it all started in 1907 when a New Orleans chef asked Kansas butter supplier Swift and Company to produce quarter-pound sticks of butter instead of the usual one-pound blocks. These smaller sticks grew in popularity and were eventually dubbed "Elgins" because Elgin Butter Co. in Elgin, Illinois, created a standardized butter press using this new quarter-pound shape.


During the 1960s, the West Coast aimed to compete with the East Coast in the dairy industry and used newer butter machines to do so. These were not of the Elgin variety and, as a result,West Coast sticks of butter are short and stubby instead of long and narrow. That would explain why West Coast butter sticks have been dubbed "Western stubbies."

While these two sticks might look different, fret not — both still provide the standard eight tablespoons of butter. So whether you're baking on the West Coast or the East Coast, you can trust that your stick of butter has the amount you're looking for.