S. M. Jaleel Special
In the early days, when goods were still transported by horse and cart, a young man with a purpose and determination decided to make his vision a reality. He worked his way up the ladder from a mere factory worker to become the pioneer of the soft drink industry in Trinidad and Tobago. It was the year 1924 and the man was Sheik Mohammed Jaleel.
Today, 84 years later, his grandsons, Mr. Jinnah, Mr. Hassan Mohammed and Dr Aleem Mohammed, the chairman, are the directors of what has become the leading soft drink company in Trinidad and Tobago.
Initially the soft drink factory started off from premises at the Corner of Keate and Murcurapo Streets, San Fernando.
Sheik Mohammed Jaleel started as an employee in this factory. His hard work eventually made it possible for him to purchase the business from its owners.
The factory was then moved to under Mohammed's home at 7 Prince Alfred Street (now Murcurapo Street), San Fernando. Its first product was called "Jaleel Beverages".
Just before the outbreak of the Second World War, around 1939, the company produced its first soft drink, which was named "Wonder Beverage".
It was around that time too that Joe Louis, the then internationally acclaimed World heavyweight boxer, was brought to Trinidad by S M Jaleel. The famous "Joe Louis Punch" was named after him. The brand "Red Spot' was added in 1950 and "Dixi Cola" in 1968.
In those days, the production of soft drinks was a manual but very innovative operation.
A dosage of syrup was put into each bottle, which was then filled with carbonated water and sealed with a marble.
The plant then produced about 90 cases per hour. These were the days when sweet drinks were sold for 24¢ per case.
In 1950, after the end of the Second World War, S M Jaleel purchased an automated line with rinsers, conveyors, carbonator and a 20-head CEM Crown Cork and Seal Filler. At this time, the fleet of distribution trucks were ten in number.
It was already becoming clear that this company would play a leading role in the business world, for in September 1959, it expanded its operations to Grenada by establishing a soft drink plant headed by one of the sons of Mr. S M Jaleel, Mr. Zaid Jaleel.