Cheerwine Turns 100 – And You’re Invited To The Party!

3 minutes read
Cheerwine Turns 100 – And You’re Invited To The Party!

Cheerwine’s Centennial Anniversary Bash May 20

While we tend to stay in the confines of our quaint mountainous area code, we’re making a rare exception for a road trip to the 704 – and we’re packing our cooler full of Cheerwine for the ride. The cherry-flavored beverage, born in North Carolina in 1917, is celebrating its centennial.

“It is today, as it was then, a family business” says Joy Ritchie Harper, the great-great granddaughter of the man who started the company. “We believe we are the oldest continuously family run soft drink brand in America.”

While Cheerwine has long since been available far beyond Tar Heel borders, you’ve likely encountered someone staring at a bank of fountain drinks in Asheville asking out loud, “Cheer WINE? Is that alcoholic?” It’s not the first time Joy’s heard that, either.

“While it is certainly not alcoholic, that is how Cheerwine got its name,” she explains. “It was created during prohibition, when soft drinks got named after what they looked like, such as root beer and ginger ale. The color of Cheerwine is similar to red wine, and it’s cheery for its taste and how bubbly it is.”

cheergfx2Cheerwine is marking its first century with a big Cheerwine Centennial Celebration in Salisbury Saturday, May 20 from 12 to 8 pm.

“We’re taking over downtown, with a celebration of all this North Carolina, including free Cheerwine,” she says. “We’ll have food from our great partners including Bojangles, Krispy Kreme, Fatz Cafe, Johnsonville Sausage, and Cackalacky BBQ Sauce, which uses Cheerwine in its recipe. “Cheerwine pairs so perfectly with BBQ, we’re actually having a People’s Choice competition where you can sample and vote for your favorite. That’s from noon until two, so be sure to come early and come hungry.”

The party also includes live music, and a kids zone with fun and games for the youngest revelers. You can get updates on the party planning from Cheerwine’s Facebook page.

If you can’t make it to the party, Joy invites you to celebrate on your own with the special commemorative glass bottles in the four-pack carrier. You can also get a 12-pack of cans with the original Cheerwine logo. Joy gave us some inside scoop on those. “We’re sprinking in some $100 instant win cans, so be on the lookout for those.”

Joy was also able to tell us much like other beverages born in the USA, Cheerwine’s original recipe remains a secret under lock and key. “Not even I know what it is, and I’m in the family,” she says. “Maybe one day!”

Ken Ulmer

Former TV weatherguy who never got it right, til the day I predicted mostly cloudy skies with a 100% chance of unemployment. I've survived stints as a morning radio host, stay-at-home dad, and lab assistant. All left me with with varying degrees of side-effects, which somehow combined to make me a good fit to be the editor/video producer of

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