Tuesday, November 30, 2004

One for the road

"Kentucky's soft drink" delivery systems (Mark Pfeiffer/November 27, 2004)

In this day of national distribution for almost everything, it's always interesting to come across local or regional foodstuffs and beverages. Saturday I drove through central and southeastern Kentucky on the way to Abingdon, Virginia. At the gas station I saw the vending machines for the awkwardly named Ale-8-One (or "A Late One") and knew that I had to try it.

"A Late One", not a cold one (Mark Pfeiffer/November 28, 2004)

The bottle's label has a picture of G.L. Wainscott, the soft drink's creator, and this brief description of the beverage:
Our Uncle Lee was an eccentric old gentleman, but there's nothing odd about his creation ALE-8. This unique blend of fruit, ginger, and other secret stuff has been a Kentucky tradition since G.L. mixed up the first batch in 1926.

(Go here for more Ale-8-One history.)

It tastes different than other ginger ales, but I don't know how to describe it. (I drank it Sunday night, so I don't have any on hand to sample while I write this entry.) From a distance the bottle and the label might give the impression that one is tipping back another amber-colored beverage, a potential hazard if you're drinking one of these while driving. (A bottle opener is required too. There's no screwing off the cap.)

Apparently Ale-8-One isn't exclusive to Kentucky. Well, yes, Cincinnati has it too, but the distribution map shows that it is available in Dayton. Hmm, I might have to hunt down some more the next time I swing through there.

While I'm on the subject of soft drinks, I tried the new Pepsi Holiday Spice. To be honest, I didn't taste much holiday spice (whatever that is), but it might not have been cold enough to stand out. Subtle additional flavoring is probably a bonus, but the verdict is still out on this "limited edition" soft drink.

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