Cheerwine, Anyone?

For years, as a Chicagoan, I consumed vast amounts of steaks and pizzas with gluttonous abandon, reveling in my good fortune to live in an area so gifted in the culinary arts.

When we moved to Carolina, then, there was a whole new world of food and beverages to explore. The most dramatic shift in my diet was probably an increase in seafood. I had never been a huge fan of seafood prior to our move, but as LCB predicted, once I tasted more and more seafood fresh from the Atlantic, I grew to really appreciate much of it.

On the beverage-front, one of the first things I noticed on one of my initial trips to the grocery store was a beverage called Cheerwine.

I think the first dozen times I went grocery shopping, I skirted around it, unsure of exactly what it was.

I mean, it had the word “wine” in it. But it was sold in the pop aisle (a.k.a. soda aisle for some of you) in aluminum cans and 2-liter bottles.

This was a tad confusing.

My assumption was that it was pop, but still, I had visions of inadvertently serving wine to my 2-year-old. This was ridiculous to the extreme on my part anyway, since my 2-year-old, 7 years later, has still only had pop once in his life and decided it was vile stuff that should only be served up with a side of torture and a handful of maladies. Perhaps the fact that I had given birth to our second child only weeks before our move altered my otherwise semi-logical thinking. Perhaps.

Regardless, a person with a stronger sense of self would have just asked someone about Cheerwine.

Not me.

I just lurked near it in the pop aisle for months, trying to be sure.

Eventually, I did try it, and came to the conclusion that there is, in fact, no wine in Cheerwine. Not that it would have been a problem if there had been, but generally speaking, I prefer to know what I’m drinking before I drink it. Actually, I’ve consumed some pretty foul-smelling, murky-looking beverages brewed in friends’ basements, and it’s all been good, because I knew I was going to drink scary-in-a-glass before I even took a sip.

Cheerwine, however, is in fact a pop with a cherry flavor to it. I’m not hugely into cherry flavors in general, but everyone who likes cherry flavor that I’ve met really likes Cheerwine.

I knew Cheerwine hails from North Carolina, but I couldn’t remember what city, so I looked it up (it’s originally from Salisbury). I also discovered something interesting.

Apparently, they recently had a contest to choose a Miss Cheerwine, someone whose job is to travel promoting Cheerwine.

Shoot. I would have entered, had I known about it beforehand. It would have been fun, traveling the country promoting Cheerwine. I could have blogged about it as I went. I think I would have won, too, when the judges found out I came with three small people. You know, it’d be a four-for-the-price-of-one deal for them. I can just picture it: Miss Cheerwine and her three small people, sharing cherry-flavored carbonation with the world, one city at a time. We could even use my daughter as a mascot for their new ad campaign, “Born in the South. Raised in a glass.” She’s our Carolina girl, born and bred. She’d think it was great fun to ride around in a giant glass that we could call her Cinderella carriage.

Now theoretically, the age requirement for Miss Cheerwine may have presented a small problem. They were looking for someone between the ages of 21 and 25, which means we would have had a very slight age discrepancy on our hands. However, when they saw that I came with three small people, I’m sure they would have been willing to make a massive slight age exception.

2 Comment

  1. Cheerwine…my brother-in-law drinks that. The rest of my transplanted to NC family doesn’t touch it at all. Then again, my born and bred on the east coast husband loves Mr. Pibb as he spent his summers on the farms in Kansas.

    My mother, every time she comes up to visit, goes shopping for items that she misses from stores up here that she can’t get in the stores in NC. But then there are all of the interesting foodstuffs that are local to down there. I’ve been introduced to Moravian chicken pie, which I now make, and some other odd things. It’s always interesting to shop in a new location.

    As for pop, I was working in Detroit for two months, years ago, and was able to grocery shop for my little suite kitchen. I went looking for a bottle of soda and passed the pop aisle 3 times before remembering that I was in the midwest and they call it pop. Sheesh.

    1. Oh, that’s funny about the pop aisle. I can definitely see doing that.

      And yes, I remember years ago family members from another region of the country commenting on how Squirt was hard to find by them (can’t remember which family member so I also don’t know which region of the country they were from), and at that point, I had no idea that everyone didn’t have it. In fact, I think I had a hard time finding it here when we first moved here, but we do have it now.

      Oh, and the Moravian things were totally new to me, too. I could go on for a while about new foods, and then that doesn’t even begin to cover all the new ways to prepare foods that I’ve learned here.

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