Cheerwine buys Sun Drop distribution rights, Concord Sun Drop pl - | WBTV Charlotte

Cheerwine buys Sun Drop distribution rights, Concord Sun Drop plant closing

(David Whisenant | WBTV) (David Whisenant | WBTV)

Salisbury-based soft drink provider Cheerwine has purchased the Sun Drop bottling company based in Concord, according to Cheerwine head Cliff Ritchie.

According to Ritchie, the formula for Sun Drop will not change.

"Dr. Pepper owns the formula," Ritchie said.  "There is just one formula.  We think this will be a good enhancement for what we already have."

Workers at the Sun Drop plant in Concord were told about the purchase on Wednesday.

The purchase means that Cheerwine will now distribute Sun Drop in the four counties that were served by the Sun Drop plant in Concord.

"We already distribute Sun Drop in dozens of counties in the Carolinas," Ritchie said.  "We are purchasing the distribution rights for these four counties."

Those counties are Cabarrus, Iredell, Rowan, and Stanly.

Sun Drop opened in Concord in 1954,  Bill and Margaret King were the owners. Cheerwine was introduced in 1917 and was created by L.D. Peeler. 

Peeler created Cheerwine amid a sugar shortage during WWI. "Almost 100 years later, Cheerwine is still a family owned business, with L.D's great grandson leading the company, the company's website says.

A source with knowledge of the purchase says that about a dozen employees at the Sun Drop bottling plant on Old Salisbury-Concord Road in Concord lost their jobs but that at least a few of them will now work for Carolina Beverage Company, which makes Cheerwine.

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