8 national food brands made right here in Birmingham, including Dale’s Seasoning

Dale’s Seasoning is perfect for Jalapeño poppers! Photo via Dale’s Seasoning on Facebook

We all know and love the many local products made here in Birmingham. But did you know that there are several national brands made right here in Birmingham? Here’s what we learned.

1. Dales Seasoning

Next time you make salmon, try basting it in Dale’s Reduced Sodium blend—delicious! Photo via Dale’s Seasoning on Facebook

Dale’s Seasoning has been a classic in homes across the country for more than 70 years. Founder Jack Levine Jr. first developed his soy and ginger-based steak marinade while stationed in Hawaii in World War Two. Once he made it back to Birmingham in 1946, Levine founded Dale’s Cellar Restaurant and bottled the first Dale’s Seasoning—and the rest is history.

Since then, Dale’s has spread across the nation and stayed true to their roots. In fact, they only offer three flavors: Original Dale’s Seasoning, Reduced Sodium Blend and the new Dale’s Steak Sauce

Recently, Bham Now’er Beth Cunningham put together three must-try recipes using Dale’s Seasoning—check it out!

2. Golden Flake

Hot dogs and Golden Flake chips—can you name a more iconic duo? Photo via Golden Flake on Facebook

Who doesn’t love Golden Flake chips? Golden Flake kicked off in downtown Birmingham as Magic City Foods in 1923, selling roasted peanuts, peanut butter cracker sandwiches and home-made horseradish—as well as their wildly popular potato chips.

In the late 1950s, new owners officially changed the name to Golden Flake and moved the company to its present location in North Titusville. Now, Golden Flake offers a variety of products sold all across the country—from their classic potato chips to pork skins, cheese puffs, popcorn and more.

3. Coca-Cola United

Coca-Cola United employees delivering Coca-Cola products right here in Five Points South. Photo via Coca-Cola United on Facebook

Headquartered right next to the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport, Coca Cola United is the second largest privately held Coca-Cola bottler in North America and the third largest bottler of Coca-Cola products in the United States.

The company was founded in 1902 as the Birmingham Coca-Cola Bottling Company. According to BhamWiki, the original team included founder Crawford Johnson, employee Sam Whitt—and a mule named Sara! In 1915, Birmingham served as the test market for the now-iconic contoured glass bottles—and by 1916, Birmingham Coca-Cola was the largest Coca-Cola bottler in the world.

Now known as Coca-Cola United, the company operates nine production facilities throughout the South with over 10,000 associates. So, next time you drink a Coca-Cola product, chances are it was bottled right here in Birmingham!

4. Buffalo Rock

Did you know that Buffalo Rock bottles + distributes Pepsi-Cola here in Birmingham? Photo via Buffalo Rock on Facebook

Family-owned Buffalo Rock Company is the maker of Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale and, since 1951, the Birmingham-area bottler + distributor of Pepsi-Cola Products. Founded in 1901 as the Alabama Grocery Company, the company’s ginger ale was immediately a smash hit—eventually, they dropped the grocery business to focus on soft drinks. In 1951, Buffalo Rock bought the rights to Pepsi-Cola in Birmingham, followed by Dr. Pepper, Seven-Up and Grapico.

5. Barber’s Dairy

The sight of Barber’s Eggnog in the grocery store officially signifies the start of the Christmas season. Photo via Barber’s Dairy on Facebook

When it comes to milk, local is always better. Luckily for Birmingham, there is one local brand that has been delivering fresh, cold glasses of milk for almost 80 years. Founded in 1921 by George W. Barber (father of George Barber of Barber Motorsports), Barber’s Dairy is the oldest active dairy business in Alabama.

In the days before air conditioning, Barber’s Dairy had a competitive advantage—its very old ice plant. Additionally, George W. Barber was a prominent advocate for the pasteurization of milk products, which reminds me of a joke my dad used to tell me.

A customer asks his milkman for enough milk to bathe in.

The milkman replies, “Do you want it pasteurized?”

The customer responds, “No, just up to my neck.”

6. Royal Cup Coffee and Tea

Photo via Royal Cup

Royal Cup’s story begins in 1896, when Henry T. Batterton of Batterton Coffee Company made his rounds in Birmingham, selling coffee from a horse-drawn buggy. For years, the company operated out of a three-story brick building on 2401 1st Avenue North.

In 1950, the company was officially renamed to Royal Cup. Since then, Royal Cup has grown from a hometown producer to a major distributor of coffee and tea, from the US to Mexico and the Caribbean.

7. Red Diamond Coffee and Tea

Sweet tea + a cheese & meat spread? Yes please. Photo via Red Diamond on Facebook

Donovan Provision Company first began selling coffee & tea in Birmingham back in 1906. The beverages were a complete hit, prompting the company to rebrand itself first as the Donovan Coffee Company, and eventually as Red Diamond Coffee and Tea.

Over the years, Red Diamond has featured some beloved characters in their commercials. In the 1960s, two of Jim Henson’s Muppet characters, “Wilkins and Wontkins”, appeared in Red Diamond commercials.

8. Zeigler Meats

Photo via Zeigler Meats on Facebook

In the early 1900s, R. L. Zeigler moved to Bessemer and opened a grocery store. Zeigler became famous for his sausage, inspiring him to open his own meat packing plant in 1927. Later, Zeigler produced the first vacuum-packed lunch meats sold in Alabama, pioneering a method still used today.

After Zeigler’s death in 1964, three Tuscaloosa businessmen purchased the company: James Hinton, Frank Moody, and the one and only Paul “Bear” Bryant. Now based in Tuscaloosa, Zeigler Meats is the largest privately owned meat packing company in the Southeast.

What are some other national brands made right here in Birmingham? Tag us @bhamnow to let us know!

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Nathan Watson
Tennessee native who fell in love with Birmingham during college. Graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 2019. Passionate about Birmingham and its continued growth.
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