Indy Style

Drink up the history of an Indiana Original: Choc-Ola

Do you remember the taste of Choc-Ola?! That creamy, chocolate goodness? Welll, Choc-Ola is now available in hundreds of retail outlets throughout central Indiana, much of Kentucky and parts of southern Illinois and Ohio.

Today on Indy Style, Choc-Ola Co-Owner Dan Iaria and Mel McMahon of Indiana Originals, share more about the company and what’s next!


Indiana Originals is helping simplify the search for local by providing a growing, statewide directory of locally owned and operated businesses headquartered in Indiana. Online and on their app, you can find today’s featured Indiana Originals member, Choc-Ola.

Choc-Ola® was invented in 1944 by Harry Normington, Sr. and manufactured out of Indianapolis, IN until approximately 1985.

Harry sold the company in 1977 and retired. The company that purchased Choc-Ola® continued to manufacture it at the Indianapolis facility until 1983. In 1985, it was acquired by it’s largest competitor, Yoo-Hoo…who eventually phased it out of the marketplace.

After that, Choc-Ola® sat idle for years and years – until one June day in 2009 when the owner of the Rock-Cola Cafe in Indianapolis was looking for something “throwback” to offer at his little ’50s cafe. He subsequently stumbled upon the fact that Choc-Ola® was available and he set the wheels in motion to acquire the trademark rights.

In 2010, he secured the trademark and began manufacturing it on a small-scale out of his cafe. However, he was barely able to keep up with the demand and so he began to actively look for a manufacturing partner.

At the end of 2010, he entered into discussions with Prairie Farms to manufacture, bottle and distribute Choc-Ola®. By February of 2011, an agreement was reached, and simultaneously an agreement was reached with Martin’s Super Markets, based out of South Bend, to be the first retail outlet.

In 2012 he entered into discussions with Dairy Farmers of America to co-pack Choc-Ola in 12 oz shelf-stable cans. By the end of 2012, the shelf-stable cans were pilot-tested and approved. Active sales of the 12 oz cans began in the fall of 2013 and online sales were made available in November 2013.

To find more great products and services original to Indiana, visit!

The Indiana Originals Holiday Expo and Marketplace is Shop Small Saturday, 11/26 on Monument Circle at the Emmis Headquarters. Registration is open now.