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Caffeine-free Diet Cheerwine joining the soft drink lineup

By Mark Wineka

Salisbury Post

Salisbury-based Carolina Beverage Corp. is launching a new caffeine-free Diet Cheerwine.

“It’s starting to hit shelves as we speak,” said Tom Barbitta, vice president of marketing.

Barbitta said the timing of the caffeine-free product coincides with diet season.

By adding the option, the company is putting muscle into the diet portion of its lineup, Barbitta says.

It also gives some caffeine-sensitive consumers a new choice or allows loyal, but caffeine-sensitive customers the option of having the taste of Cheerwine during any part of the day, he added.

At first, the caffeine-free Diet Cheerwine will only be available in 2-liter bottles.

Barbitta described the product’s launch as a “soft rollout.” All major retailers are being called on and made aware of it.

The caffeine-free option in the diet category plays a significant role with other brands and could translate into a good business opportunity for Cheerwine, according to Barbitta.

“It’s all about relevance and having a lineup relevant to consumers today,” he said.

Sunday newspapers in the region will have a free-standing insert for Diet Cheerwine and a 50-cent coupon, which is good for the regular or diet brands.

The “Exercise Your Right to Diet Different” insert is one of the first pieces of work from Cheerwine’s new advertising agency, B.R. Zoom.

Barbitta said it represents a leading edge of what’s to come in future Cheerwine marketing that will be more “youthful, hip and a lot of fun.”

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263, or mwineka@salisburypost. com.

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