What Is Cheerwine?

True soda-heads know that, save for a few specialty stores throughout the U.S., you have to visit a regional store to find some of the best bottles of sweet fizzy stuff. For example, the New Englander writing this article was previously unaware of the existence of Cheerwine, which is apparently “the oldest continuing soft drink run by the same family for over 100 years.” If you’re a fellow uninitiated Cheerwine head, prepare to be initiated, because today we’re discussing Cheerwine in all its sweet cherry glory! Let’s get guzzling, gang! 

What flavor is Cheerwine? What does Cheerwine taste like?

According to the official Cheerwine website, “Cheerwine has a unique [and] fizzy wild cherry taste.” According to Sporked taste testers, it’s very, very sweet and has more of a maraschino cherry flavor than a fresh cherry flavor. Cheerwine has a deep burgundy color, not unlike a fine wine, which inspired the name. (There had never been any actual alcohol or wine in Cheerwine.) It has an unusually high degree of carbonation compared to other soft drinks, making the bubbles more intense. 

Who owns Cheerwine? Where is Cheerwine made?

Cheerwine is owned by the Carolina Beverage Corporation based in Salisbury, North Carolina. It claims to be “the oldest continuing soft drink company still operated by the same family” since 1917. (Although, we hope they don’t mean the literal same folks have been running the factory. A 107-year old should not be running a bottling press!)

Where was Cheerwine invented?

Cheerwine was created in Salisbury, North Carolina, by L.D. Peeler. Sugar was heavily rationed at the time, so Peeler turned to other flavors to help sweeten his soda. A salesman from St. Louis sold him some wild cherry flavoring and, lo, Cheerwine—the country’s first bottled cherry soda—was born!

What types of Cheerwine are there?

These days, you can find classic Cheerwine in a glass bottle made with cane syrup, along with Cheerwine in a can made with corn syrup, Cheerwine Zero Sugar (in cans and bottles), and there’s seasonal Cheerwine Holiday Punch made with ginger ale and pineapple. You can even buy your own Cheerwine syrup to use in cocktails, marinades, floats, baked goods, etc.  

Does Cheerwine have caffeine?

Yes, Cheerwine has caffeine. Most versions of the soda contain between 45 and 50 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce can. That’s less than the amount of caffeine in Mtn Dew, but more than the amount of caffeine in a can of Coke. 

So, whether you live in an area where it’s widely available, or are planning a roadtrip to one (as good a reason to plan a vacation as any!), we hope a bottle of Cheerwine is in your future! Oh yeah, and you can order it online too…but that means no car radio sing-alongs or alphabet game, so weigh your options!

About the Author

Joe Rumrill

Joe Rumrill is a fictional one-eyed spinach-loving sailor created in 1929 by E.C Se- Wait, no, that's not right... Joe Rumrill is a stand up comedian and writer currently based in Los Angeles. His favorite thing about food is a close tie between the taste and the nutrients one gets from it. His least favorite thing about it is the "gritty, dirt-like quality some food has", but he's most likely referring to the time in third grade he was dared to eat playground sand.

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