Cheerwine Partners with Pepsi Bottling Ventures LLC and Expands into Delmarva

SALISBURY, N.C. (Nov. 12, 2009) – Cheerwine, the iconic, unique, sparkling soft drink, has continued to expand upward, downward and westward from its hometown of Salisbury, N.C. over the last several decades – this time landing north in another Maryland.

Beginning in November, Delmarva residents will find it easy to kick back and relax with a Cheerwine. For the first time, the soft drink will be available in all retail outlets in Pepsi Bottling Ventures LLC (PBV)’s Delmarva franchise.

“Our move into the Delmarva area is very exciting for us and consumers in the region, many of whom have only heard of this magical soft drink but never tasted it,” says Tom Barbitta, vice president of marketing for Cheerwine. “The kicked-back personality of Cheerwine is something that consumers really identify with, and is a key reason we continue to experience positive growth. Without great partners like Pepsi Bottling Ventures and the hard work of our sales team, this could not have happened.”

Created in 1917 by L.D. Peeler, the Cheerwine brand is still privately held by the same family today and is one of the oldest family-owned soft drink companies in the country. With the Delmarva area being very family oriented, Jim Leland, Cheerwine’s vice president of sales, expects the American-born-and-produced soft drink’s back-story will resonate with local residents.

“The area has a lot in common with Cheerwine; the people are easygoing and love their leisure time,” says Leland. “Thanks to Pepsi Bottling Ventures, residents in Delmarva who’ve heard about Cheerwine, but never tasted it, will be able to enjoy it for the first time and fans will have easy access.”

A New, Sparkling Image

Beginning in 2009, Cheerwine unveiled a marketing campaign that incorporated a heavy dose of digital elements – a new Web site, viral videos and highly targeted online banner advertisements – into the mix.

“Cheerwine’s success and the uniqueness of the brand gives us great confidence that it will do well in Delmarva. We’re excited to to be able to introduce this superb soft drink to our local consumers.” said Paul Finney, senior vice president of sales for PBV.

A Tale of Two Salisbury Cities

In 1915, Lewis Morgan co-created, and soon owned, The Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company (then named The Peninsula Bottling Company) in Salisbury, Md. In the late 1800’s, Morgan was one of many immigrants who came to the United States searching for a better life. After several years in Norfolk, Lewis decided to pursue opening his own business in Salisbury, N.C. After boarding the wrong train, Morgan ended up in the city with the same name in Maryland and decided to stay.

“Cheerwine launched that same decade, so it’s interesting to think how history would’ve played out with us working together from the same home base,” says Barbitta. “It seems the partnership was meant to be because, almost a century later, everything’s fallen into place.”

About Cheerwine

Launched in 1917 by L.D. Peeler, Cheerwine is the unique, sparkling soft drink from North Carolina. Owned and distributed by the Carolina Beverage Corporation and Cheerwine Bottling Company in Salisbury, N.C., the 92-year-old company is still privately owned and managed by the same founding family; four generations of whom have worked there. Cliff Ritchie leads Cheerwine as president and CEO. Available in supermarkets and convenience stores in select states nationwide and on the website at