|Manufacturer||Carolina Beverage Corporation|
|Distributor||Local bottlers and distributors|
|Country of origin||United States|
Cheerwine is a cherry-flavored soft drink produced by Carolina Beverage Corporation of Salisbury, North Carolina. It has been produced since 1917, claiming to be "the oldest continuing soft drink company still run by the same family".
When the Maysville Syrup Company of Maysville, Kentucky went bankrupt in 1917, L.D. Peeler and other invested businessmen moved the company to North Carolina and renamed it the Carolina Beverage Corporation. That same year, Peeler purchased a recipe for a cherry flavored soda from a Saint Louis flavor salesman, which eventually became Cheerwine. Though it has been around since 1917, Cheerwine first became a registered trademark in 1926.
Cheerwine has a mildly sweet flavor with strong cherry notes, most notably black cherry; is burgundy-colored; and has an unusually high degree of carbonation compared to other soft drinks. The product was named for its color and taste; the company website states that "it made sense to name a burgundy-red, bubbly, cherry concoction--Cheerwine." The "Retro Cheerwine" variant is sold in glass bottles and is sweetened with cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. Despite its name, Cheerwine is not really a wine and contains no alcohol.
The company also markets Cheerwine flavored ice cream, sherbet, and cream bars, mainly in Food Lion, a Salisbury, NC-based supermarket chain. A commercially baked Cheerwine cake, based on an old Southern recipe, became available through a Salisbury-based company in 2008.
In 2009, the company began a re-branding campaign designed to revamp the drink's image, especially among younger consumers. The re-branding called for a redesign of the Cheerwine packaging, with a new, retro-style logo based on an early Cheerwine logo.
In 2010, Cheerwine partnered with the North Carolina-based doughnut company, Krispy Kreme, and released a limited-offered Cheerwine flavored donut on July 1 of that year. It was sold only at select grocery stores for the month of July, and at the Salisbury Krispy Kreme. The Cheerwine doughnut returned again in July 2011. Cheerwine Kreme, a soda with the flavors of Cheerwine and Krispy Kreme, was sold during the summers of 2016 and 2017.
In 2010, Canton, Ohio-based Old Carolina Barbecue became the first restaurant chain in Ohio to offer Cheerwine as a fountain drink. By 2014, Cheerwine-based products including iced slushi, Cheerwine cakes and floats had become a signature part of the Old Carolina concept.
A Cheerwine Recipe Book was published in 2017, by Sandy Carol Sider.
As of June 2017, Cheerwine is certified as kosher.
Slogans have included "Born in the South. Raised in a Glass", "Nectar of the South", "Betcha can't not smile." and, starting in March 2018, "Uniquely Southern."
Cheerwine is currently available in much of the southeastern United States, from West Virginia south to Florida, but is better known in the Carolinas and Virginia. Other spots to find Cheerwine are the many "specialty soda" stores throughout the country, as well as WinCo Foods in Washington state, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store restaurants,Sheetz convenience stores in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and overseas, in Norway. It is sold either as a single bottle or as a pack of four.
On April 5, 2011, the company announced plans for nationwide distribution by 2017, the product's 100th anniversary. The same day, the company also introduced a new advertising campaign, "Born in the South. Raised in a glass." At the time, Cheerwine was available in 12 percent of the nation. Radio commercials for that campaign include "The Caper", where criminals left everything from a store except Cheerwine; and "Battle of the Bulge", in which a soldier from the Salisbury area has two bottles sent to him during World War II and gives one to his friend.
Also in April 2011, Cheerwine announced it was searching for a woman to represent the company as "Miss Cheerwine". Candidates had to be 21 to 25 years old and live in Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, or Virginia. A company spokesperson stated, "We're looking for a poised, enthusiastic young woman who can help us spread the legend and get Cheerwine into the hands of our fans with charm, confidence, sweetness and a sense of fun." On June 3, 2011, Spencer Cummings, named the first Miss Cheerwine, began the Miss Cheerwine Summer Legend Tour.
On October 18, 2011, Cheerwine announced plans to partner with Pepsi Beverages Co. in Atlanta, Florida, and Memphis, Tennessee. The same week, the company began using glass bottles to distribute the "Original 1917 Formula" with sugar, as well as introduced 12-pack cans.
On June 16, 2014, Birmingham's Buffalo Rock Co. announced Cheerwine distribution in Alabama, western Georgia, and the Florida Panhandle. This added about 6.5 million potential new customers to their distribution footprint.
Ritchie is the president and CEO of Cheerwine Bottling Company and Carolina Beverage Corporation. He is a native of Rowan County and a graduate of Lenoir Rhyne University. Since returning to Salisbury to work in the family business, Ritchie has overseen the unprecedented growth of the Cheerwine brand and its affiliated bottling operations.
The food section is stacked with cream soda, moon pies, apple butter and Cheerwine...
Lately, younger shoppers have been drawn to the vintage soda wall with options that include Cheerwine and Ale-8-One, artisan home decor, stained-glass lamps, retro T-shirts and vintage candies like Necco Wafers and Double Bubble.