How Double Cola Became Part Of The Fabric Of Chattanooga

The company is celebrating 100 years of business and a century of loyal community.

Double Cola image

Courtesy of Double Cola

Back in 1922, a man by the name of Charlie Little founded the Good Grape company, which later would became the Double Cola Company. As the tale goes, Charles Little was an eccentric guy who had a bathtub in his house specifically for testing new beverage concoctions. If something was deemed good by family and friends, he would fine tune it and take it to a captive audience on the Chattanooga railroad. At the time, Chattanooga was key in the Southern railway system and was always humming with activity.

With his beverages in hand, that was the beginning of what today is known as the Double Cola Company. That grape soda later became part of their Jumbo line of fruity sodas.

The company eventually became the Seminole Flavor Company in 1924. In 1933, they introduced Double Cola, named so because of it being double the size of other cola products on the market.

In 1953, Seminole Flavor Company changed its name to be the Double Cola Company, and today it celebrates its centennial as a beverage company.

inside double cola bottling factory

Courtesy of Double Cola

But changes continued to roll from the 1950s until present day. The company changed ownership a few different times, and new products continue to be introduced liked Ski, their number one selling product, a citrus soda made with real orange and lemon, and a variety of other limited-time offers. 

Today, you’ll find their products in the South, part of the Midwest, and nationally in Cracker Barrel stores.

In 1991, Alnoor Dhanani moved to Chattanooga from London when his family purchased the Double Cola Company. He became CEO in 1997 and remains in charge today.

On October 10, 2022, the Double Cola Company celebrated its remarkable 100th anniversary with activities across Chattanooga, where Double Cola is still headquartered. A soda brand with a niche Southern and Midwest following may have wavered in ownership over the years, but it always remained a part of Chattanooga. And in fact, if it wasn’t for this city, the beverage company may never have started.

"We have always felt that we have been blessed to be in Chattanooga, and this town has been nice to us,” says Dhanani.

Giving back is a huge part of what they do, and the company has involved itself in many nonprofits in the community, including the United Way, American Cancer Society, and more. Part of their centennial celebration culminated with a Habitat for Humanity build.

Double Cola factory

Courtesy of Double Cola

Each quarter, an employee picks an organization meaningful to them, and the company supports them through volunteering and other contributions. In fact, they have become so ingrained in the fabric of the community that the City of Chattanooga declared the week of October 9 Double Cola week.

As for the future, as beverage preferences continue to change, the company hopes to be a part of the changing consumer beverages. The company recently added their first alcoholic beverages, BrewSki, a shandy made with beer and Ski soda, and they plan to look at other opportunities in this space, like canned cocktails.

“We’ll be looking more to the health-related beverages, different products able to provide to the new consumer that they are looking for,” says Dhanani, mentioning things like water-related beverages and maybe even CBD or energy drinks.

One thing that won’t change: their dedication to Chattanooga and their loyal customer base.

“There is an amazing legacy of customers where we have known grandparents and their kids and grandkids who have supported us,” says Dhanani. “And of course, our love for the Chattanooga community.”

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