Article by Dawn Mitchell, IndyStar

Let’s cut to the chase: it exists.

Choc-Ola was considered a regional beverage like Ale-8 in Kentucky or Big Red in Texas, and enjoyed a cult following in Indiana and other Midwestern states. With roots in Indianapolis, Choc-Ola held a special place in the hearts of Hoosiers, much like the beloved Roselyn Bakery stores.

The chocolate beverage had a distinct taste all its own. It contained milk, but it was much thinner in consistency and seemed to contain a slight hint of coconut. But perhaps that was just me? The real key was to shake the can to ensure you had a good mixture so you could easily consume the can in 2 to 3 gulps. It went down smooth.

Harry Normington Sr. invented the drink in the 1940s while working at a dairy in Vincennes. He moved to Indianapolis in 1944 and purchased a factory in the 2300 block of Churchman Avenue on the southeast side and started producing and distributing Choc-Ola.

To ensure consumers knew the main ingredient was milk, the factory featured a huge large Holstein cow statute on a pole, while labels featured a smiling cow with the slogan “Cow Power”.

Normington sold the brand to Moxie Industries Inc. in 1977. Moxie closed the plant in 1984 and moved operations to Atlanta. The brand changed hands several times until it landed in the hands of the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group in 2009. The group also produced popular Yoo-Hoo chocolate drinks. Choc-Ola ceased production.

Dan Iaria rescued the drink in 2010 after discovering its 20-year trademark had expired. Iaria and former partner Joe Wolfla recreated the concoction in the kitchen of Rock Cola Cafe on Brookville Road. Wolfla is no longer associated with the company.

Dairy Farmers of America, in Springfield, Missouri, produce, pack, and ship Choc-Ola to Indianapolis, where it is distributed to select grocery and convenience stores.

Just remember to shake well.