It's here, Ale-8-One fans: the first new flavor of the local favorite soft drink.
Bottles of Cherry Ale-8-One were rolling off the line on Tuesday, and will be shipped to grocery stores in Lexington, Frankfort, Richmond, Winchester, Bowling Green, Owensboro and Elizabethtown ... eventually. Single bottles will be in stores Thursday and six-packs as early as Friday.
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The Winchester company decided that after 92 years, it was time to bring out an expansion of the line, said Ellen McGeeney, chief operating officer and president.
Why cherry? Well, it isn't exactly a new idea. McGeeney said the company knows that loyal fans like to add a squirt of cherry syrup to their Ale-8-One, because they post it on social media.
Still, the company played around with several ideas for two years before it came up with a formula that really worked, she said.
The version coming to the shelves now isn't as gingery as regular Ale-8 but still maintains a lack of sweetness that fans like.
"Everybody told us we couldn't do a cherry flavor and stay under 120 calories, but we did," McGeeney said. The drink also is made with sugar, not corn syrup, and has no artificial colorings. It's made with real cherries and colored with fruit and vegetable juices.
How does it taste? Sweet but not too sweet. Cherry but not too cherry. One taster described it as like liquid cherry Tums, but he isn't from around here.
The Cherry version also is available in fountains at convenience stores, if you can find it. Here's where to look: cherry.ale8one.com/.
It's been selling out at locations already but more will be coming, according to Fielding Rogers, the great-great-nephew of company founder G.L. Wainscott. Rogers still hand blends every batch of Ale-8 and now Cherry Ale-8.
Are more flavors coming? McGeeney didn't rule it out, but she said they won't release one unless they feel it's really "Wainscott worthy."