M. Licht & Son Inc was founded by Max Licht, in Knoxville, TN in 1889. He manufactured condiments like vinegar, ketchup, mustard, etc. In about 1895 he started manufacturing soft drinks, in those days called soda pop. He sold a 12 oz bottle for 10¢ when everyone else sold a five oz bottle for a nickel. He continued with that until the early 1930’s. During the 30’s Leonard Licht was running the business and he sold vinegar, spices, mustard, etc. in packages that could be sold for a nickel. During the Depression that worked very well. He also was one of the first to bottle vinegar in gallon jugs instead of in barrels.
In the early 1950’s M. Licht & Son concentrated on selling SMOKY MOUNTAIN Chow Chow, a vegetable relish made from cabbage and peppers in vinegar and spices. During the Depression many people flavored their dried beans with chow chow, and they continued to enjoy this for the rest of their lives. In 1970 we discontinued making the SMOKY MOUNTAIN Chow Chow product.
In 1963, we sold a low calorie vegetable relish. From the sweetener used in the low calorie vegetable relish came SMOKY MOUNTAIN SWEETENER. We offered it as a liquid in 4 oz, 16 oz and gallon sizes. We continue to sell SMOKY MOUNTAIN SWEETENER to supermarkets, such as Food Lion, Ingle’s, Bi-Lo,FoodCity, Bruno’s, Food World, and Harris Teeter, and to foodservice distributors, such as US Foodservice.
Our plant was located in downtown Knoxville at 611 S Broadway from 1904 until 1978 on the exact site where the Sunsphere from the 1982 World’s Fair is currently located. Since 1978, our plant has been located at 709 N Hall of Fame Drive.
In 2007, we started offering MLS Sucralose Sweetener and Mixes..