Over 100 Years of Sweetness
In 1906, the Alabama-Georgia (ALAGA) Syrup Company was established by Louis Broughton Whitfield, Sr. along with his wife, Willie Vandiver Whitfield. Mrs. Whitfield, a native of Montgomery, Alabama, named the company to represent both her home state and that of her husband who was from LaGrange, Georgia.
The first can of ALAGA syrup was packed in January 1907. At the time, the Alabama-Georgia Syrup Company’s workforce consisted of just six people: A Superintendent, a Bookkeeper/Stenographer, and four production line workers. Along with the name ALAGA, the company was symbolized by an image showing a pair of hands clasped in front of a bundle of cane sugar stalks. It represented the union of Mr. and Mrs. Whitfield signifying partnership in marriage and, in a wider sense, friendly relationships with the employees and the customers of the company. This image and name are still prominently shown on the label of the traditional ALAGA syrup.
The slogan for ALAGA syrup was, “ALAGA—Good Every Drop.”
By 1920, ALAGA Syrup had grown into a national brand thanks to the revolutionary manufacturing methods which brought ALAGA syrup to customers throughout the country in metal cans, a remarkable packaging and distribution feat for its day.
With this growth came the construction of a spectacular two-story brick plant and administrative building at 1101 North Court Street in Montgomery, Alabama that provided superior manufacturing workspace with rail car access for raw materials and finished goods along with a barbershop, a kitchen, dining rooms, and hygiene facilities that far exceeded the living standard of the day. These facilities would be put to good use during the pending Great Depression when the ALAGA Syrup Company would provide hot meals, showers, haircuts, transportation to work/home, and a good-paying job for their employees when so many others were not so fortunate.
In 1923, Louis Broughton Whitfield, Sr. became partners with Mr. J. E. Wright and formed the W & W Pickle and Canning Company. In August 1926, Mr. Whitfield purchased the interest of Mr. Wright in the W & W Pickle and Canning Company and changed the name to the Whitfield Pickle Company. In 1937, the company built a second pickle plant in Dallas, Texas to serve the Southwest. The Whitfield Pickle Company would grow to become the second-largest pickle company in the country before being sold in 1979 to the Atkins Pickle Co., a division of Dean Foods. And the ALAGA Syrup company would become Whitfield Foods, Inc. as it diversified into a new business area, the contract manufacturing of juice beverages.
From humble beginnings to a meteoric rise, the Whitfield family experienced fame and fortune and became an American success story.
Many celebrities, both local and national, have been called friends and graced the halls of the historic two-story brick building located on 1101 North Court Street, promoted the products of the company, or have been guests of the Whitfield’s at their Lake Mitchell lodge or homes. The Whitfield family has tremendous gratitude for the employees, friends, and customers who make us what we are today and have helped us along the way.