Cheerwine: North Carolina's signature beverage celebrates 100 years
Posted February 21
Updated May 8
Charlotte, N.C. — The sweet soft drink that has become a North Carolina staple is celebrating its 100th birthday this year and giving fans a chance to win $100.
Cheerwine might be a centenarian, but it hasn't changed much since its inception in 1917 in Salisbury.
L.D. Peeler created the drink amid a sugar shortage in World World I. He bought cherry flavoring from a traveling salesman from St. Louis and mixed it with other flavors to create Cheerwine's signature flavor.
At the time, it was custom to name drinks after the beverages they closely resembled, that's how root beer got its name. Since Peeler's drink had a rich burgundy color resembling wine, he named his drink Cheerwine.
The syrup formula, which remains a closely guarded secret, is still made in Salisbury. It is then shipped to Charlotte where it is bottled and canned at a production facility.
Through the years, the company has entered into partnerships with other North Carolina-based businesses, including Krispy Kreme, which made a special Cheerwine filling several years ago. Last year, Cheerwine made a limited edition flavor inspired by the popular glazed doughnut.
As part of its 100 year celebration, Cheerwine has rolled out its limited-edition collectible "Centennial Can Series," which includes seven designs reflecting the brand's look throughout the years. Several $100 instant-win cans have been randomly sprinkled in 12 packs across the distribution area.
Take a 360 tour of Cheerwine's bottling facility
The company will also celebrate with an outdoor birthday bash and festival in Salisbury on May 20. The event is free and open to the public and will include live bands, free Cheerwine, a barbeque cook-off and more.