10 to Watch: Cheerwine

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 2, 2017

Cheerwine, the soft drink, celebrates its 100th birthday in 2017, so naturally its on the “10 to Watch” list.

L.D. Peeler created the effervescent, cherry-flavored beverage in 1917 despite a sugar shortage during World War I. The business is still privately owned and managed by the same founding family, five generations of whom have worked there.


Cliff Ritchie currently heads Cheerwine, which is owned by Carolina Beverage Corp.

Today, Cheerwine is most widely available in grocery stories, convenience stores and restaurants throughout the Southeast. Cheerwine’s footprint actually extends across the United States if you consider that Cheerwine in glass bottles is sold in locations such as Cost Plus WorldMarket, Fresh Market, Cracker Barrel Country Stores and many other independent stores, the company reports.

Cheerwine also is available in food service places such as PDQ, Carolina Ale House, Cookout and Bojangles.

“Cheerwine’s reach extends far beyond the traditional distribution channels — many people order Cheerwine online at www.Cheerwine.com,” says Angela D’Amario, who helps with company marketing.

Cheerwine plans a big, public centennial celebration in Salisbury in May, and the company will be unveiling commemorative packaging in early 2017. D’Amario promises the company has “much, much more ‘under its cap’ for the year.”

The Post had a little fun answering the following questions on the soft drink’s behalf.

— Mark Wineka


Name: Cheerwine

Age: 100

Address: Salisbury

Job: Being delicious, refreshing

Favorite book: “Cherries and Cherry Pits” by Vera B. Williams.

Who would play you in a movie: Actress Cherry Jones, who starred as U.S. President Allison Taylor in the series “24.”

What would you want to be your last meal: A Hap’s Grill hot dog, Bojangles seasoned fries and Cheerwine in a bottle.

Biggest challenge of the year ahead: Getting people to double their intake of Cheerwine.

Biggest hope for 2017: People tripling their intake of Cheerwine.

Who you’ll be watching in 2017: Sun Drop. Since Piedmont Cheerwine Bottling recently bought the franchise distribution rights of Sun Drop Bottling in Rowan, Cabarrus, Iredell and Stanly counties, the two regional favorites have an even stronger kinship.

Your reaction to being named one to watch? What took so long?