There’s a sure type of North Carolina wholesomeness that was depicted in black and white episodes of “The Andy Griffith Present,” within the entrance porch bluegrass of the late Doc Watson and on dented tin indicators politely asking us to drink Cheerwine soda.
Though you’ll be able to take a Griffith-themed tour in Mount Ethereal – the real-life inspiration for the present’s Mayberry setting – and you may nonetheless hear Watson on public radio theme hours, they each exist in reruns and reminiscences, left behind in a time that males in sharply-creased khakis check with as ‘the great ol’ days.’
On all events, it is good style — Picture courtesy of Travis Seward
That’s not the case with Cheerwine. “On all events, it’s good style,” these indicators promised – and greater than a century later, it nonetheless is. For those who’re from North Carolina or have spent any time within the superior Carolina, you’re nodding your head in settlement.
The story of this extra-fizzy cherry soda started in Salisbury, North Carolina, in kind of the identical place the place new chapters are nonetheless being added. In line with the North Carolina Historical past Venture, a businessman named Lewis D. Peeler purchased right into a Kentucky bottling firm in 1913 and began promoting its signature drink, Mint Cola.
When the corporate went bankrupt (probably as a result of Mint Cola sounds disgusting), he purchased the native franchise, renamed it the Carolina Beverage Company and began to work on a brand new, much less minty soda.
A bottle of Cheerwine on a sunny Carolina afternoon. — Picture courtesy of Travis Seward
Sugar had been rationed as a result of World Battle I, so Peeler used cherry flavoring to assist sweeten his new soda, which he referred to as Cheerwine: getting the ‘cheer’ as a result of he deemed it a “pleasure” to drink, and ‘wine’ due to its deep burgundy colour. By 1924, Cheerwine was already outselling Mint Cola.
So no, there’s not a single drop of wine in Cheerwine; though it was initially made in a former whiskey distillery, that’s as near booze as Cheerwine will get. That was information to federal regulators, although, who as soon as pointed their hilariously misguided fingers on the firm, accusing it of encouraging youngsters and youths to drink wine.
“Cheerwine is wine like root beer is beer,” the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms reluctantly admitted in 1992. “Cheerwine is none of our enterprise.”
Peeler died in 1931, and his son Clifford took over as the corporate president, main it by way of the darkish days of the Nice Despair. As Cheerwine’s personal company timeline says, “it was good to have a product with the phrase ‘Cheer’ within the title again then.” Quick-forward all these many years later, and the Carolina Beverage Company remains to be owned and managed by the fifth era of the Peeler household.
Cheerwine is a staple at basic shops all through the Carolinas — Picture courtesy of Travis Seward
Cheerwine has a definite taste that brings the perfect out of each synthetic cherries and cola. (“Like Cherry Coke?” it’s possible you’ll be asking your self. No. Not even shut.) That style is simply a part of its attraction; the opposite is its additional fizz, which makes it an much more satisfying soda.
“It is bought an additional large jolt of bubbliness to assist offset and lighten that sweetness,” wrote James Beard award-winning Cheerwine fan J. Kenji López-Alt.
In Might 2017, Cheerwine commemorated its centennial with a competition in Salisbury, and it is since grow to be an annual custom. Greater than 50,000 folks attended the 2019 celebration of “life, liberty and the pursuit of cheerfulness,” and who would not wish to spend a day consuming Cheerwine slushies and shopping for “Drink Cheerwine” t-shirts?
It’s onerous to underestimate the attraction of the soda on this state; Our State journal identified that when Krispy Kreme – one other North Carolina establishment – launched a limited-edition Cheerwine cream-filled donut, it offered greater than 1,000,000 of them in lower than a month.
Cheerwine refers to itself as “Southern meals’s trusty sidekick,” and there may not be a greater pairing than a chilly Cheerwine and a plate of North Carolina BBQ. It’s the proper accompaniment, whether or not you benefit from the vinegar tang of a Lexington-style chopped plate or the incorrect type. (Sorry, tomato-based Easterners. You’ll come round ultimately.)
For those who go into one of many state’s most genuine BBQ joints, there’s a better-than-average likelihood that Cheerwine might be an possibility on the soda fountain.
Cheerwine tastes wonderful irrespective of the container, however there’s one thing particularly magical a couple of glass bottle — Picture courtesy of Travis Seward
For those who reside past the North Carolina border and are prepared to provide this a go, you’re fortunate that occasions have modified. Cheerwine wasn’t obtainable outdoors the state till the Eighties – and it wasn’t even on the market within the whole state till the Nineteen Seventies.
Though there aren’t distributors in each state (but), you’ll be able to order it by way of the corporate’s web site, and you may as well discover it at locations as assorted as World Market and Cracker Barrel. And in the event you reside in a kind of unhappy states bereft of this superior beverage, write to your senators and demand that they tackle this horrible incorrect!
Let’s increase a Cheerwine in direction of Salisbury, in direction of the late L.D. Peeler and in direction of Andy Griffith. Wholesomeness has by no means tasted so good.