Insider: Coleman Dairy Brand Will Be Phased Out Next Year

Coleman Dairy, the 150-year-old Little Rock milk brand, will disappear in 2013. Or so a Coleman insider confirms.

These days, Coleman is a division of Hiland Dairy of Springfield, Mo. Next year, the Hiland Dairy brand will replace the Coleman brand on all products from the lone Coleman plant in Little Rock.


Most of Hiland’s customers are regional, “so they are in the process of eliminating local brands and going to a regional brand,” our insider said. The Coleman company was sold 17 years ago, “and so I guess we’ve been very fortunate that this hasn’t happened before now. It’s one of those things that happens.”

The Coleman family started the company in 1862 in Little Rock. The family sold the business in 1995 to a cooperative that Turner Holdings of Covington, Tenn., bought in 1998. Prairie Farms of Carlinville, Ill., owner of Hiland, then bought Turner Holdings in 2007 and made Coleman a division of Hiland.

Prairie Farms might have waited to drop the Coleman name till 2013 so Coleman could celebrate its 150th birthday this year, our insider conjectured.

The Coleman family is still involved at the Little Rock plant through Cherb and Walt Coleman, who are plant manager and controller. The plant employs 230 people.

Hiland also owns Hiland-branded plants in Fayetteville and Fort Smith.

Update: Kate Knable talks to Hiland Dairy about their brand change plans and the company's "brand identity crisis."