Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cheerwine - a southeastern drink aka "the Nectar of the Tarheels"

I passed a truck with the words - CHEERWINE printed on the side as I took Sierra to the orthodontist today. It reminded me of a book I read where the main character was always mentioning having a bottle of Cheerwine. There was also a mention of a Cheerwine cake in one of Jan Karon's Mitford Series books. What the heck is it?

So here I am, with the full scoop for y'all. Not being raised in Virginia, but I got here as quick as I could - I had no idea! So if you are not from these parts then I will also enlighten you as well...from Wikipedia:

Cheerwine is a soft drink produced by the Carolina Beverage Corporation of Salisbury, North Carolina. It has been produced since 1917. When the Maysville Syrup Company of Maysville, Kentucky went under 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 had been around since 1917, Cheerwine first became a registered trademark in 1926.

Cheerwine has a very sweet cherry flavor, 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. The company also markets Cheerwine flavored ice cream, sherbet, and cream bars.

Cheerwine is available in most of the southeastern United States, from West Virginia south to Georgia, but is better known in the Carolinas and Virginia. Other spots to find Cheerwine are the many "specialty soda" stores throughout the country, such as The Fondren Beverage Emporium in Jackson, Mississippi.

In April 2005, other regions of the United States began to bottle Cheerwine; mainly through Pepsi distributors.

A fan-created website,, was launched with the purpose of enabling people to find and identify local Cheerwine retailers. Visit the Cheerwine Website:

Now the goal for this innkeeper is to try to locate some CHEERWINE at a retail market and give it a try! If I find it, I will stock the guest fridge at The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast with a few bottles or cans so you can try it too!


Life is too short for bad coffee... Shellie @ The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast in Rocky Mount Virginia

Update: MMMM!!! I did it! I found them and am having a Cheerwine and guess what? It is really really good. It would be the original cherry cola, but not very cherry at all just lightly cherry flavored, very fizzy.

Very reminiscent of a soda fountain drink or a Shirley Temple. I have them in the guest fridge awaiting your opinion.