Ale-8-One Celebrates 90 Years of Business

unspecifiedWINCHESTER, KY, JULY 13, 2016 – Ale-8-One Bottling Co., maker of the ginger & citrus based soft drink Ale-8-One (aka “A Late One”), kicks off its celebration of the drink’s 90th anniversary today. Since July 13, 1926, soda lovers have been drinking the unique ginger formula originally created by beverage innovator and founder George Lee Wainscott.

A true entrepreneur, G. L. (Lee) Wainscott got his start in the bottling business in Winchester, KY in 1902 with distilled water and flavored sodas, known as Wainscott’s Flavors. After being unsuccessfully sued by Coca-Cola for developing his own thriving cola beverage, Roxa-Kola, Wainscott began the search for a recipe all his own that would stand the test of time. He traveled to post war Europe where ginger beers were popular, and brought home a few recipes. He loved the rich ginger flavor but preferred less bite, adding more citrus and floral notes.

Wainscott perfected the Ale-8 recipe in 1926, launching his new beverage at the Clark County Fair, where he allowed folks to sample the product and held a naming contest. Submitted by a young girl, “A Late One”, slang for the “latest thing” in soft drinks, was the winning entry. Being in the midst of prohibition, Wainscott transformed the phrase into the name the drink has carried for 90 years, Ale-8-One. Those who couldn’t imbibe could still enjoy a refreshing, nonalcoholic treat.

“Ale-8 has always stood apart from typical ginger ales because it has more flavor, less carbonation, and less sugar with an added kick of caffeine. Yet it goes down smoothly, without the bite found in ginger beers,” said Fielding Rogers, 4th generation owner and great-great nephew of Wainscott. “To me, the most special ingredient is the care and heritage we put into every bottle. I still mix up the secret formula by hand myself, the fourth generation in the family to do so. Not only is it made with real ginger extract that has been blended specifically for Ale-8-One, but many people say our classic green glass bottles add a little magic to the experience.”

Ale-8 is surely one of the last soft drink bottlers left in the United States continuing to receive and refill the old returnable, long neck, glass bottles. These bottles are thicker and heavier than today’s bottles, and people say Ale-8 tastes best in the refillable bottle, perhaps because the thicker glass holds the cold longer, perhaps because of the memories each bottle contains. They also represent true recycling and are making a comeback with restaurants that focus on local, authentic and green.

Pair the unique flavor of the drink with the company’s proud heritage as a Kentucky based, family-owned business since 1902, and Wainscott’s legacy continues to grow.

For decades, this Winchester-born soft drink has offered the Best of the Bluegrass in green glass — a nod that has won the company both a loyal local following and a noticeable national platform. Earlier this year, Ale-8 announced the expansion of its direct service delivery, which now spans from Campton to Owensboro, covering Lexington, Frankfort, Elizabethtown and Bowling Green nearly doubling the company’s original delivery footprint. That success has created an economic opportunity for the local bottler to add delivery trucks and merchandising in the newly expanded territory.

Last September, the soda entered Central Indiana and in June further expanded throughout Indiana and Illinois. The regional bottler gained national access in February through Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores in the retail section, now available across 42 states.  This fall, the local favorite will gain entry into the specialty soda section of the Southeastern retail chain Harris Teeter adding over 200 locations across 7 states and the District of Columbia.

In celebration of ninety years of its greatest creation, the regional bottler will be hosting an ice cream social for employees on Wednesday.  A limited edition watercolor poster featuring a timeline of the classic refillable has been commissioned and will be for sale online or at the gift shop on Carol Road in Winchester.  The gift shop is also bringing back a popular t-shirt from the 80’s featuring a squirrel.  Subscription based t-shirt provider, My Kentucky Tee, has also created a special design in honor of the milestone that will be available through mykentuckytee.comand at Market 301.

Rogers continued, “Our employees are dedicated, our community is supportive and our fans are loyal, and that’s why we have lasted for generations. They have invested meaning in the Ale-8 brand through their memories. Ale-8 really belongs to them.”

About Ale-8-One? Ale-8-One soft drink has been bottled in Winchester, KY since 1926 and is the only soft drink invented in Kentucky still in existence. It is a ginger and citrus blend, containing less carbonation, and fewer calories than conventional sodas. The company’s founder and inventor G.L. Wainscott was an unconventional man with innovative ideas. After bottling soda and flavored drinks in Winchester, KY for many years, G.L. Wainscott developed the Ale-8-One formula with its unique ginger taste. The product was launched July 13, 1926, and Wainscott sponsored one of the first product naming contests at the Clark County (Kentucky) Fair. “A Late One,” the winning entry, was 1920s slang for the latest thing in soft drinks. To this day, the company continues to be independent: locally owned and family operated by G.L. Wainscott’s great-great-nephew, Fielding Rogers. He still mixes up the closely guarded, family secret, Ale-8 recipe in a locked blending room where Wainscott’s hand written recipe notes hang on the wall.

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