Everyone has heard of Coke™ or Pepsi™. Outside of the South, however, very few have actually heard of Cheerwine®. So, what is it? Cheerwine® is actually a cherry flavored soft drink. In fact, the actual website name is www.itsasoftdrink.com, playing on the idea that most people ask "What is Cheerwine®?"
So It's Cherry Coke™?
While Cheerwine® is a cherry flavored drink, it definitely is not the same as Cherry Coke™ or any other cherry drink. It has its own distinct flavor and has a burgundy color to it. According to their website, "it made sense to name a burgundy-red, bubbly, cherry concoction Cheerwine®."
Cheerwine® was created in Salisbury, NC, just north of Charlotte. It is one of the few places where it is more common than Coke or Pepsi. According to Wikipedia, the recipe was bought from a Saint Louis salesman in 1917.
While it's most often sold in cans or plastic bottles Cheerwine® can actually be found in other variants.
New Can Design
Cheerwine® has recently come out with a new can design that is actually more retro. This new look is more predominant and will be found on everyday cans/bottles from now on.
Believe it or not, there is actually a Diet version of Cheerwine®. It is also just as prevalent as the regular version. While there is a difference in taste, Diet Cheerwine's® taste is much more similar when comparing other diet drinks to their regular counterparts.
Glass Bottle Cheerwine®
This is the original, the way Cheerwine® was meant to be enjoyed. The glass bottle truly brings back the nostalgic memories. The main difference between this version and regular Cheerwine® is the use of cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. There is definitely a difference in taste for the better. Although Cheerwine® continues to make the glass bottle version, it is not as common even in the South. Most grocery stores do not stock it so you have to go to a specialty beverage store or perhaps the small, local establishments.
Although a float can be made by mixing any soft drink with ice cream, there are actually restaurants that serve Cheerwine® Floats on the menu. Most of these are local southern style restaurants that are not part of a chain. However, one such fast food chain that does is Cookout®. They can be found throughout North Carolina and have Cheerwine® Float listed directly on their menu.
Cheerwine® Ice Cream
There is actually a manufactured version of Cheerwine® flavored ice cream and sherbet available. In 2002, Cheerwine® partnered with Food Lion™, a grocery store that was also founded and headquartered in Salisbury, NC, to distribute the ice cream. Since it was such a big hit, Cheerwine® sherbet was introduced a year later. The cartons can be recognized as having a burgundy red color with the Cheerwine® and Food Lion™ logos present. While Cheerwine® ice cream can be found at virtually any Food Lion™, it is not available nation-wide as Food Lion currently only has stores in the southeast and mid-atlantic areas. The next time you happen to find one of their stores, you know you can be guaranteed to get Cheerwine® ice cream!