My family has a long and complicated history with Choc-Ola. My mother's family lived in South Indianapolis. She went to Southport and Beech Grove. Her family went to the same church as the Normington family, who gave Choc-Ola to the world. It was, therefore, at all church functions. At least one of my uncles drove semi trailers full of Choc-Ola across the midwest. I've been hearing about Choc-Ola for 35 years, seeing their logo everywhere, and never have had the chance to try a drop.
From this rather large family, I've never talked to one person who says "I enjoy drinking Choc-Ola". When Choc-Ola came back around as a product in recent years, the people I mentioned it to were kind of wishy washy about it, "Oh that's nice for them, hope it does well". Do you want some? "Nope, not really".
So now Choc-Ola is back and selling product, and thanks to the Wonders of the Internet, I have a case of it. And I can taste test it for myself, against a more Northeasterly drink, Yoo-Hoo
So let's start the hyphenated chocolate-milk-but-safe-on-a-shelf beverage test.
You can see right away that Yoo-Hoo is much lighter in color. It's also a thinner liquid. They're similar in odor, but Choc-Ola tastes much more "Chocolatey". Natalie also reports that Yoo-Hoo is more "Chemicalley".
Yoo-Hoo also seems to have had more trouble integrating its solids back into the liquid in a glass:
I promise in the name of scientific integrity that each of these products was shaken with great vigor, and drunk within moments of pouring. This photo also represents the residue from the "first pour" of each drink, the "top half", so that gack at the bottom of the Yoo-Hoo glass isn't gunge I scraped from the bottom of the bottle.
One thing Yoo-Hoo does have going for it is its much more complicated, modern sounding and exciting ingredients list. Choc-Ola makes one think of sitting on a porch at a farm, drinking chocolate milk. Yoo-Hoo lets your mind wander to men in lab coats and vast manufacturing facilites lined with vats containing palm oil, dipotassium phosphate and corn syrup solids.
Long story short, my family is goddamn nuts. It's at this point that I'll point out that my grandfather was a milk man. I believe a couple of my uncles were as well. Meanwhile, my mom grew up with no milk in the house, drinking Pepsi and eating Velveeta. This may account for some of the preference issues noted at the top there.
Choc-ola is great, and you should buy some of it. Bother your grocery store until they buy some. I successfuly annoyed my local grocery store into buying the frozen White Castles back in the '90s, so I know it can be done with persistence.
Unleash the Cow Power.
Edited: Natalie tells me I'd be remiss in not posting our own piece of Choc-Ola history: