produced by the Carolina Beverage Corporation
of Salisbury, North Carolina
Cheerwine is fairly one-of-a-kind amongst sodas for its "unique cherry taste and rich burgundy color" (as quoted on the company website). The descriptions above explain its flavor. There is also a Diet Cheerwine.
The soda has been produced since 1917. As for the name, the company site explains "In the early 1900s, soft drinks were often named for their appearance, hence the names root beer and ginger ale. Therefore, it made sense to name a burgundy-red, bubbly, cherry concoction - Cheerwine."
Cheerwine is available in most of the southeast United States, from Virginia and West Virginia south to Florida. However, as of late 2002, the beverage is now also distributed in Norway (of all places!) through Oslo-based American Marketing. There are plans to expand distribution to the rest of Scandinavia in coming months.
No word on when it'll spread to the rest of the US. So I'll just have to enjoy it for my remaining time in Florida. (One can order the drink through the company website however.)