Travel to Chattanooga, Tenn., and you will find the headquarters of Double Cola, a company that has spent almost 100 years growing along with its resilient home city. Strong leadership, quality products and driven employees has Double Cola poised to continue producing exciting and delicious beverages.
Double Cola was founded in 1922 by the eccentric entrepreneur Charlie Little. Rumor has it Little would concoct new beverages in the bathtub at his home and have his family taste-test them. If a beverage passed the test, he would begin selling it on the trains that ran through Chattanooga.
Current CEO Alnoor Dhanani brings a different approach than Charlie Little did, but under his leadership the company has continued to grow and diversify. Dhanani has led Double Cola since 1998. He has a very positive outlook on the changes the industry has experienced and is excited about the future.
When asked what trends in the beverage industry excite him, Dhanani points to the proliferation of products and the resulting change in marketing concepts. In addition to their classic line of carbonated beverages, Double Cola has started producing seltzers, juice-based drinks and teas. Dhanani likes that there is a wider ability to add products that the market will accept. There is a product for everyone's unique tastes, and companies must market niche products to smaller groups of consumers. "While this might shorten product life cycles, it increases the number of products that we can put out at one time," he says.
One product that has had a long life cycle is Ski - a carbonated citrus juice-based drink. Ski debuted in 1956 and has been one of Double Cola's most popular products ever since. There are many varieties of Ski, including Diet Ski, Cherry Ski, Tropical Ski and Caffeine-Free Ski. Dhanani compares Ski drinkers to people who use Apple products. "Apple is not the biggest player in that industry," he says, "but people who use Apple products are fanatical about them. My sense is it's the same way with Ski. Our Ski drinkers are fanatical about it."
Having a great product like Ski to sell is important, but Alnoor says that employees make or break a company, and his emphasis is on people over numbers. Double Cola offers great benefits to its employees, including covering up to 100 percent of the costs for employees pursuing higher education. Additionally, the company is very involved in the local community. It supports local chapters of Habitat for Humanity and the YMCA, as well as Siskin's Children's institute, to name a few.
From humble beginnings, Double Cola has grown into a strong regional company with a broad distribution area. The company has expanded into many other states including Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama and Mississippi and it plans to keep expanding. Alnoor Dhanani is proud of his company and excited for new people to try Double Cola's products. We are proud to have Double Cola as a member of the ABA family.