History & Philosophy

Dignity, Respect, & Integrity Since 1991

“Try anything.”

That has always been the modus operandi of our founder, Marvin Smith.


Before establishing Chattanooga Labeling Systems, Marvin found himself in the glass manufacturing industry in Chattanooga, TN. With a knack for building connections, he nurtured close relationships with numerous clients and partners during this time, bridging the gap between the glass makers and the decorators. These connections sparked a growing interest in glass decoration, eventually leading him to try something new in his professional career.


In 1991, Marvin began searching for labeling equipment to open his own business. During that search, he contacted a friend of his within the glass industry to inquire about purchasing machinery. That conversation developed into Chattanooga Labeling Systems’ first order — labeling commemorative Coca-Cola bottles.

Officially Opened

Officially opening in 1991, Chattanooga Labeling Systems turned a profit in its first year by labeling Coca-Cola bottles and Bama Jelly Jars. As the CLS name gained recognition from these endeavors, Marvin decided it was once again time to try something new. He widened the Chattanooga Labeling Systems market reach to include beer, with the first client being Anheuser-Busch.

1994 | Partnership

After many good years in the beer bottle labeling business, another opportunity arose for Chattanooga Labeling Systems. In 1994, Brown-Forman repurchased the Labrot & Graham Distillery and renamed the bourbon Woodford Reserve. They decided to partner with Chattanooga Labeling Systems for decoration, and the rest is history — CLS has been decorating Woodford Reserve whiskey bottles since their inception and continues to do so to this day.

2000 | Transformation

In 2000, Marvin decided to further diversify into the spirits market, transforming Chattanooga Labeling Systems into a comprehensive in-house glass decorating and labeling company. Their services now encompass everything from pressure-sensitive labeling to screen printing, spray coating, and more, and their market reach extends to spirits, wine, beer, specialty, and beyond.

The philosophy behind Chattanooga Labeling Systems

To Marvin, the success of Chattanooga Labeling Systems comes down to the people — the relationships he formed during his time in the glass manufacturing industry, the contacts he has made along the way, and the dedicated employees who believed in his vision for CLS and adopted it themselves. The ability to move locations 4 times over the company’s tenure and never lose a day’s production is a feat that can only be attributed to the steadfast and committed members of the Chattanooga Labeling Systems team. Their reputation as the go-to company for solving problems and delivering specialized solutions is the pride of the entire organization, earned over years of delivering excellence.
Marvin’s “try anything” philosophy has been infused into the CLS team, fostering an atmosphere of constant innovation in processes and services to cater to their clients’ needs. Whether that means purchasing new technology, engineering proprietary machinery, or scheduling weekend shifts to meet production, CLS has always been tenacious in its mission to do anything to get the job done right. Marvin feels this shared drive is a product of years spent ironing out the Chattanooga Labeling Systems culture and mission. To look around on the production floor and see some of the same employees as 15 or 20 years ago is an honor, and not one taken lightly.

True to Our Values

Even after 30 years, Chattanooga Labeling Systems remains true to its original values: treating customers and employees with the dignity, respect, and integrity they deserve.

Marvin and the CLS team are committed to preserving these values well into the future, all while continuing to “try anything” to meet their customers’ ever-evolving needs.