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Cheerwine, the soft drink brand of the South, has taken its so-called “Southern handshake in a bottle” to the Pacific Northwest. In mid-October the company began producing the soft drink in Olympia, Washington. It’s the first step in bringing Cheerwine to the shelves of retailers in that region.
"Cheerwine has made a commitment to be in all 50 states by our 100-year anniversary in 2017," says Tom Barbitta, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Cheerwine. “We have been very focused and methodical in fulfilling our mission. While an aggressive goal, there is no doubt this brand can play on a national stage. Consumer research conducted earlier this year confirmed the entire U.S. wants the brand on every shelf, in every town. We believe anchoring the brand in the Pacific Northwest and demonstrating success there can actually help accelerate our expansion to other markets. There are already good signs of consumer affinity in the Pacific Northwest. It is very, very exciting!”
Creating success in the Pacific Northwest requires the right partners, and Cheerwine has that in the partnership with the Pepsi bottlers. “We very deliberately analyzed the U.S. and concluded that the best region to create a beachhead was in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. The independent Pepsi bottlers and Pepsi Beverages Company will help us integrate the Cheerwine brand throughout the region. These are very effective Pepsi bottlers that are deeply ingrained into their communities,” Barbitta says. “They know how to get the chores done.”
“We’re excited to be a part of the Cheerwine family. Introducing Cheerwine in Northwest Washington is a natural fit for Walton Beverage, our customers and our consumers," says Ford Carothers, CEO of Walton Beverage. "Cheerwine’s attributes of uniqueness and creativeness fit well with the folks in our area. And like Cheerwine, we’ve been in business for over eighty years, yet are always looking to expand our horizons. We couldn’t be more proud to be selling the ‘iconic soft drink of the South’.”
Delivery of Cheerwine to Pacific Northwest markets has started, and Cheerwine expects to be fully integrated into the region early next year.