President Trump Honors NC-based Cheerwine on 100th Anniversary
A North Carolina soft drink is being featured at a White House effort to focus on products made in the U.S.A.
Multiple media organizations report representatives of Salisbury-based Cheerwine will join President Donald Trump and manufacturers from each state on Monday.
The White House effort seeks to encourage other companies to manufacture their products in the United States.
Cherry-flavored Cheerwine marks its 100th anniversary this year and the company is owned by the founder’s great-grandsons.
The soda often is used in southern recipes such as barbecued chicken.
In 1917, L.D. Peeler wanted to create a soft drink of his own, and bought some interesting cherry flavor from a traveling salesman from St. Louis.
L.D. experimented, mixing cherry with other flavors, stumbled upon a singular flavor sensation, and Cheerwine was born. Anyone who tasted it loved it.
Three years later, glass bottles etched with three cherries and the Cheerwine name were produced to replace the original paper label. Shortly thereafter, similar cherries appeared on slot machines and three cherries became synonymous with good luck.
After outselling another L.D. soft drink, Mint Cola, in 1924, the company name was changed from Mint Cola Bottling Co. to Cheerwine Bottling Co.
The change came as no surprise to anyone, except for Herbert Von Kennel, who was Salisbury’s only mail carrier at the time.
After L.D.’s death in 1931, his son, Clifford Peeler, assumed the managerial role of the Carolina Beverage Corp. and the Cheerwine Bottling Co.
In addition to keeping the company afloat during the Depression, he kept it profitable.
In the 1940s, like many Americans, the Peelers donated what they could to the war effort.
Much of the old signage was used in the creation and repair of naval ships. Sailors of the era claimed to have seen the faint image of a Cheerwine logo imprinted in the hull of the USS Intrepid.
Dwight Eisenhower came through Salisbury to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Rowan County in 1953 and became the first president known to enjoy a Cheerwine.
After the first sip, as rumor has it, he proclaimed, “Ike likes!”
George Bush Sr. became the second president to experience the soft drink when he came to the Faith Fourth of July celebration in 1992.