My wife and I are currently traveling through the Smoky Mountains on vacation. While visiting a food store in North Carolina, we spotted a familiar beverage name in the freezer section. Let’s take a look at Cheerwine Sherbet.
In 2002, the popular regional drink partnered with Food Lion, supporting the ties that both companies have to Salisbury, North Carolina, the home of Carolina Beverage Corporation, parent of Cheerwine. That year Food Lion started carrying Cheerwine Swirl ice cream, which was deemed successful. This was followed a year later by Cheerwine Sherbet and Cheerwine Cream Bars.
The ice cream products themselves are produced by Dairy Fresh, a subsidiary of Dean Foods, and given private label branding for Food Lion.
We picked up 1 quart of the sherbet, which features prominent Cheerwine branding, complete with large cherries on the label. A smaller Food Lion logo appears as well, but it’s subordinate to the Cheerwine look & feel.
Milk fat and nonfat milk, sugar, corn syrup, Cheerwine flavor base (caramel color [sulfites], natural and artificial flavors, filtered water, artificial color [FD&C Red #40]), stabilizer (guar gum, Grade “A” whey solids, dextrose, mono & diglycerides, locust bean gum, calcium sulfate and polysorbate 80), citric acid
A 1/2 cup serving contains 120 calories, 1 g fat (saturated fat 0.5 g), less than 5 mg cholesterol, 25 mg sodium, and 29 g carbs (29 g sugars).
Upon opening the quart of sherbet, the color and texture resembled that of red velvet cake very closely. The scent is uncanny, in that it really does smell like a cherry cola. The taste is very sweet, quite a bit more than traditional rainbow sherbet. The flavor is a bit heavier than those fruit-inspired sherbet flavors. However, the overall experience is very Cheerwine-ish! That unique sorta-cherry cola element is carried out very nicely in this frozen form. It’s more candy-like than soda as far as flavor. I quite liked the unique sherbet!
Back in the day I used to enjoy floats made of rainbow sherbet and Orange Slice. One wonders what a Cheerwine Float would taste like if you mixed the drink and the sherbet together.
We often see soft drink products licensed for other food purposes, which usually attempt to cash in on the brand name but don’t really provide a realistic flavor experience. Cheerwine Sherbet isn’t that type of product. It’s true to the original drink as far as taste, and now you have a reason to open your freezer as well as your fridge when looking for a Cheerwine fix!