|Manufacturer||Carolina Beverage Corporation|
|Distributor||Local bottlers and distributors|
|Country of origin||United States|
Cheerwine is a cherry-flavored soft drink by Carolina Beverage Corporation of Salisbury, North Carolina. It has been produced since 1917, claiming to be "the oldest continuing soft drink company still operated by the same family".
Overview and history
When the Maysville Syrup Company of Maysville, Kentucky, went bankrupt in 1917, L.D. Peeler, Hughston Kirby, Kurt Weinmann and other invested businessmen moved the company to North Carolina and renamed it the Carolina Syrup Company. That same year, Peeler, Kirby and Weinmann 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.
The family of Lewis Peeler has run the Cheerwine company since its founding, and his great-grandson, Charles Clifford "Cliff" Ritchie, has been CEO and president of Cheerwine's parent company, Carolina Beverage Corporation, since 1992.
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.
As of July 2021, Cheerwine's ingredients included carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, phosphoric acid, natural and artificial flavors, caffeine, citric acid, sodium benzoate (to protect flavor), and Red 40.
In 2008, a commercially baked Cheerwine cake, based on an old Southern recipe, became available through a Salisbury-based company.
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.
In 2010, Canton, Ohio–based Old Carolina Barbecue became the first restaurant chain in Ohio to offer Cheerwine as a fountain drink.
During the summers of 2016 and 2017, Cheerwine Kreme, a soda with the flavors of Cheerwine and Krispy Kreme, was sold.
In 2017 the Cheerwine Recipe Book was published, by Sandy Carol Sider.
Slogans have included "Born in the South. Raised in a Glass", "Nectar of the South", "Betcha can't not smile." and "Uniquely Southern".
Cheerwine is currently available in much of the southeastern United States, from Maryland south to Florida, but is better known in the Carolinas. Other spots to find Cheerwine are the many "specialty soda" stores throughout the country, as well as WinCo Foods in Washington state, Cracker Barrel restaurants, Cook Out restaurants, Sheetz convenience stores in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and overseas, in Oslo, Norway. It is sold as a glass bottle, 2 liter, 12 pack or as a pack of four glass bottles, and is available as a fountain drink at some restaurants and convenience stores.
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, 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.
- Wineka, Mark (April 6, 2011). "Cheerwine hopes to be nationwide in six years". The Salisbury Post. Archived from the original on January 9, 2016. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
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- "Since 1917: The Cheerwine Timewine". Archived from the original on February 28, 2009. Retrieved March 7, 2009.
- Taylor, Kate (April 26, 2016). "Cheerwine is ready to take over the soda market". Business Insider. Archived from the original on December 28, 2016. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
- Purtell, David (May 31, 2015). "F&M Bank boards elect new chairman, two new directors". Salisbury Post. Archived from the original on December 28, 2016. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
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.
- "Cliff Ritchie: Executive Profile & Biography". Bloomberg L.P. Archived from the original on December 28, 2016. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
- "Cheerwine Nutrition Facts and Cheerwine Ingredients". Archived from the original on June 16, 2021. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
- "Cheerwine maker launches new product". Charlotte Business Journal. October 2, 2003. Archived from the original on October 11, 2010. Retrieved August 25, 2009.
- "Apple Baking Co. introduces Cheerwine cake". Salisbury Post. July 30, 2008. Archived from the original on October 5, 2012. Retrieved July 13, 2010.
- Wineka, Mark (September 18, 2008). "Cheerwine 'restaging' with new look, campaign". Salisbury Post. Archived from the original on September 19, 2008. Retrieved July 13, 2010.
- Smith, Shelley (July 1, 2010). "Cheerwine filled doughnuts are a hit". Salisbury Post. Archived from the original on July 4, 2010. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
- Jenkins, Scott (July 31, 2010). "Cheerwine doughnut now only in Salisbury". Salisbury Post. Archived from the original on August 2, 2010. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
- "Cheerwine Krispy Kremes return". Salisbury Post. June 30, 2011. Archived from the original on September 9, 2012. Retrieved July 1, 2011.
- "Old Carolina Barbecue Company". Facebook. June 12, 2013. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
- "Barbecue eatery completes magical link to South". The Canton Repository. March 1, 2012. Archived from the original on January 16, 2014. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
- "One Great Southern Tradition Meets Another". Old Carolina Barbecue Company. Archived from the original on November 17, 2013. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
- "Pop and doughnuts: Cheerwine Kreme returns to stores today". Salisbury Post. July 18, 2017. Archived from the original on April 16, 2021. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
- "Captain Cheerwine recipe". DrinksMixer.com. Archived from the original on January 9, 2016. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
- "What is in a Whining Pirate alcoholic drink?". WebAnswers.com. Archived from the original on December 22, 2015. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
- "Cheerwine launches 'Uniquely Southern' campaign". Salisbury Post. February 24, 2018. Archived from the original on November 14, 2018. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
- Tolentino, Jia (January 28, 2016). "Letter of Recommendation: Cracker Barrel". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 21, 2016. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
The food section is stacked with cream soda, moon pies, apple butter and Cheerwine…
- Alfs, Lizzy (September 23, 2016). "How Cracker Barrel plans to lure millennials". The Tennessean. Archived from the original on April 5, 2023. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
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.
- "Menu | COOK OUT". Archived from the original on April 22, 2021. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
- "Cheerwine expands into Norway". The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area. January 13, 2003. Archived from the original on October 11, 2010. Retrieved July 13, 2010.
- "Cheerwine Soft Drink Unveils Custom-Molded Glass Bottle at InterBev in Atlanta". BevNET.com. October 24, 2002. Archived from the original on December 28, 2016. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
- "Cheerwine lands distribution deal with Pepsi Bottling Ventures". The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area. February 17, 2010. Archived from the original on March 23, 2010. Retrieved July 13, 2010.
- Collins, Glenn (March 9, 2011). "The Expanding Cult of Cheerwine". Diner's Journal. New York Times. Archived from the original on December 21, 2011. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
- Craver, Richard (October 19, 2011). "Cheerwine Bottling Co. agreement doubles Salisbury-based company's distribution presence". Winston-Salem Journal. Archived from the original on October 23, 2011. Retrieved October 19, 2011..
- Wineka, Mark (April 25, 2011). "You could be the first Miss Cheerwine". Salisbury Post. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
- "Meet Miss Cheerwine". Salisbury Post. June 2, 2011. Archived from the original on April 29, 2016. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
- Diel, Stan (June 10, 2014). "Buffalo Rock to make, distribute North Carolina soft drink Cheerwine". AL.com. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved June 10, 2014..