SALISBURY, N.C. — Legendary soft drink brand Cheerwine® is taking an important step toward its goal of being available in all 50 states by its 100th anniversary in 2017 by aligning distribution with Buffalo Rock Co., the largest independent, single-shareholder-owned Pepsi bottler in the county.
Starting June 16, the partnership will expose the popular Cheerwine brand to more than 6.5 million new customers in Alabama, western Georgia and the Florida Panhandle. Product will be made in Buffalo Rock’s state-of-the-art production facility in Birmingham, Ala., and shipped to its 14 distribution centers, which serve more than 15,000 retailers across the Deep South.
“We’re excited to bring the one-of-a-kind taste of Cheerwine to our retail partners and the millions of people in the communities we serve,” said Buffalo Rock Vice President of Customer Development, Sales and Service Warren Austin. “Cheerwine is a very successful soft drink brand with an incredibly passionate fan base in the Carolinas and other parts of the South. We expect it to be successful with consumers in Alabama, Georgia and northwest Florida.”
The Buffalo Rock deal complements Cheerwine’s existing distribution agreements with several other Pepsi bottlers in the south including Pepsi Beverages Co., part of parent company PepsiCo. It also comes on the heels of the brand’s expansion into the Pacific Northwest in late 2013, which includes agreements with Pepsi Beverages Co. and 13 independent Pepsi bottlers in the region.
“We strongly believe this new relationship has all the ingredients to be a match made in heaven: one of the nation’s leading independent bottlers joining forces with one of America’s most beloved independent soft drink brands, all taking shape in the South,” said Tom Barbitta, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Cheerwine. “This partnership gives our brand a foothold in a part of the country where there is solid demand for Cheerwine.
“What makes this particularly exciting,” added Barbitta, “is the common spirit and shared values of two independent entities coming together. Buffalo Rock has been superb to work with on every level, and we are very grateful to their leadership team for giving us this opportunity.”
Buffalo Rock is expected to offer Cheerwine in a variety of packages, including 12-pack cans, 20-ounce and two-liter PET bottles, and iconic 12-ounce glass bottles featuring real cane sugar – the “original” Cheerwine created in 1917.
CHEERWINE: Born in the South. Raised in a Glass.
Launched in 1917 by L.D. Peeler, Cheerwine is a soft drink with a flavor that always surprises. It is an iconic brand from North Carolina. Owned and distributed by the Carolina Beverage Corp. and Cheerwine Bottling Co. in Salisbury, N.C., the 97-year-old company is still privately owned and managed by the same founding family, five generations of whom have worked there. Cliff Ritchie leads Cheerwine as president and CEO. Available in supermarkets, restaurants, mass merchandisers and convenience stores in select states nationwide and on the website at www.cheerwine.com.
About Buffalo Rock Co.
Buffalo Rock Co. is the largest independent, single-shareholder-owned Pepsi bottler in the U.S. The company employs more than 2,100 employee-partners who service a population of over 6 million consumers throughout Alabama, western Georgia and the panhandle of Florida. Chairman of the Board and CEO James C. Lee III is the fourth-generation head of the company, which exceeds $500 million in revenue annually. With over 110 years in business and an average of 30 years of experience among its executive team, the company is positioned for continued growth and to meet the soft drink beverage demands of an ever-changing consumer. For more information, visit www.buffalorock.com.