Kentucky’s Favorite Mixer Goes Big

Ale-8-One, the soft drink born in Winchester, Kentucky, is now available across the South

Photo: Courtesy of Ale-8-One

The Bluegrass State is known for its bourbon, its horses, and the music that originated from its rolling hills. And while you might have to travel there to fully experience those cultural highlights, you can now find one taste of Kentucky closer to home. Ale-8-One, a small craft soda company based out of Winchester, has expanded its distribution; the crisp, clean, ginger ale with a twist of citrus is now available in Harris Teeter, Kroger, and Fresh Market grocery stores throughout the South.

Courtesy of Ale-8-One

G.L. Wainscott created Ale-8-One in 1926, and although its unique taste was a major hit, the product remained available only in Kentucky during the twentieth century. In 2002, the company expanded—but only to a few counties over the state line in Ohio and Indiana. “If we were going to expand, we wanted to do it right,” says fourth-generation Ale-8-One president Fielding Rogers. So the company took its time. In 2016, it partnered with Cracker Barrel to make the soda available in all 645 of the restaurant chain’s country stores in 44 states. Finally, this year, Ale-8-One decided to take a bigger leap, selling its product in grocery stores from Maryland to Texas.

Although the beverage has been around for ninety-one years, Rogers and his company decided to expand now in response to the rise of craft sodas, Southerners’ growing appreciation for small, family-run companies, and mostly, another Kentucky export—bourbon. “Ale-8-One can be a gateway to bourbon,” Rogers says. “Some people don’t like the taste of bourbon at first—just put a little splash of Ale-8-One in there and you will. Both are a huge part of Kentucky culture.”

Photo: Courtesy Ale-8-One

Ale-8-One president Fielding Rogers.

Even as the company grows, Rogers wants to make sure nothing about the homegrown brand changes. “Absolutely everything is done in-house,” he says. “I mix up the secret formula myself.”

Not in the South? Ale-8-One ships anywhere UPS does. Learn more at ale8one.com.