Musician and ex-footballer team up to launch new Scottish cola made with heather botanicals

In time for St Andrew’s Day festivities, Glaswegians Chris Ewing and Niall Holmes of the Caledonian Cola Company are launching a new Scottish premium craft drink, Alba Cola.

Published 20th Nov 2019
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

Made with lightly carbonated Scottish water and heather botanicals, Alba Cola contains less sugar than large brands and comes packaged in a black can adorned with a gold unicorn. The brand’s slogan ‘A take on the traditional’ reinforces the cola’s call for people to try something different.

The idea for the soft drink was born when entrepreneur and ex-Motherwell footballer Chris noticed the popularity of regional colas in France and spotted a gap in the market for a cola from Scotland.

He got together with musician Niall who had been working in the food and drink industry for over 15 years. Together they tasted and tweaked the recipe to perfectly balance the heather botanicals in the cola and are now launching into cafes, stores and bars around Scotland.

Chris explained: “People in France would frequently ask for a cola made from their region over the big brands and I knew there would be a market for the same kind of thing from Scotland with its own wonderful food and drink and culture.

“Consumers are drinking less alcohol and looking for new premium soft drinks or mixer experiences. Niall and I got together to develop the brand further and the result is Alba Cola which in our opinion has to be the best looking and tasting cola around!

“It’s a drink to be shared and enjoyed with friends made using some of Scotland’s best natural ingredients, our untouched water and botanicals from one of our most iconic plants. They work so well together in a cola!”

Scottish cola

Niall said: “We are very excited to introduce Alba Cola to the thriving food and drink industry here in Scotland. The reception we are getting when people see and taste it is fantastic. The reception we are getting when people see and taste it is fantastic.

"The head chef at the Monachyle Mhor Hotel in Balquhidder serves it with wild lemon sorrel and a Glasgow rum distillery is working on some new Scottish inspired cocktails using Alba Cola for Christmas.

“It really is such a versatile cola with a refreshing taste and we look forward to seeing what people think of the world’s favourite soft drink reinvented with a premium Scottish twist.”

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Alba Cola’s digital campaign, new website and social channels will feature photography inspired by Scotland’s people, heritage and culture and will highlight the country’s world famous scenery and urban iconic backdrops from the rolling hills and glens to distinctive architecture like Glasgow Central station.

The cola also appeals to the health and environmentally conscious as it contains only natural sugars (and 20 per cent less sugar than the big brands), is vegan friendly and comes in recyclable aluminium cans.

It is currently stocked in a range of independent retailers, cafes and bars around Scotland, with plans to roll out further afield into the New Year, priced from £1.40 for a 330ml can.

For more info and to find a stockist, please visit the brand's website.


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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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