You drink it, eat it, play it, deal it and post it—and it’s all made right here in Kentucky.
Bottled in Winchester since 1926, Ale-8-One is the only soft drink invented in Kentucky still in existence. Founder and inventor G.L. Wainscott hit upon the formula after experimenting with ginger-blended recipes acquired during travels in northern Europe.
Not only is Ale-8 one of the last soft drink bottlers left in the United States, it is also the only one in Kentucky continuing to receive and refill returnable long-neck, green glass bottles.
“Many fans say the best-tasting Ale-8 is contained in these bottles, full of memories,” says DeAnne Elmore, field marketing and public relations manager. “They are thicker and heavier than today’s bottles.”
The company gives 1 percent of sales from these returnable bottles to environmental non-profits in Kentucky through its partnership with 1% For The Planet.
Not all beer cheese is created equal — or served at the same temperature. In Central Kentucky, the way they make their decadent app is a bit different than the process we use in the Queen City, but a local author says: If it’s not cold, it’s not traditional.
When the term “beer cheese” comes to mind, most people think of a hot dip paired with some type of salty chip, bread or soft pretzel — a gooey spread that combines and melts two of humanity’s favorite vices. But Central Kentucky beer cheese is served chilled and made with just four ingredients: cheddar cheese, garlic, cayenne pepper and, of course, beer.
Writer (and CityBeat freelancer) Garin Pirnia tells a story of authentic cold beer cheese in her recently published The Beer Cheese Book, which details the history of the cold dip, where it came from and why it’s so appetizing.
Pirnia, a Covington resident, fell in love with beer cheese while at Party Town in Florence, Ky. Confused yet intrigued by the cold spread, she had to try it.
“It was a pre-packaged spread made by Kentucky Beer Cheese, which is based near Lexington. I tried it and loved it,” she says.
Immediately impressed, she researched the decadent snack. Following the first taste of cold beer cheese, she attended The Beer Cheese Festival in Winchester, Ky., in 2014. Held each June, this festival is the only one in the world dedicated to the food.
If you don’t live in the South, chances are Ale-8-One (pronounced “ale eight one”), a craft soda hailing from Winchester, Kentucky, may be news to you. Developed during prohibition in 1926, the gingery, citrusy soda has become a staple in the South, going way beyond a refreshing drink of choice. Chefs throughout Kentucky are now using the beverage to cook. “I’ve been drinking Ale-8-One for 46 years and I love it because it combines two of my favorite flavors: citrus and ginger,” says Kentucky chef Ouita Michel, of Ouita Michel Family of Restaurants.
So, what’s all the hype? It’s like ginger ale but with a citrus kick, containing a little less carbonation and fewer calories than typical soda. “I love the unapologetic, slight burn of ginger that Ale-8-One starts and finishes with on the palate,” says chef Jeremy Ashby, AZUR Restaurant. “Its effervescent qualities are thirst quenching but not too dry or sweet. The flavor balance on the palate mirrors my style of cooking.”
The company, run by fourth-generation family owner, Fielding Rogers, still uses the original handwritten, secret recipe. Plus, if you’ve ever tasted a Moscow Mule with Ale-8-One, you know it’s a solid cocktail mixer that can be used in place of ginger beer. “I like its soft spiciness and tang, making it especially good with your favorite bourbon—down here we call that a Kentucky Gentleman,” says Michel.
12 of the world’s most enticing food and drink trails
Laura Kiniry, CNN • Updated 30th October 2017
(CNN) — Culinary trails pull together the best of a region’s food and drink offerings, whether it’s to showcase a specific food item or cuisine or to highlight the diversity of local producers.
Around the world, these self-guided touring routes (and in one case, an actual foot trail) give visitors and residents alike an alternative — and flavor-filled — way to experience an area, while discovering something about its culinary heritage.
From the delicious dumplings of Canada’s Richmond to France’s Camembert cheese, these food and drink trails will help satisfy both your travel aspirations and your appetite.
Experience the Heart and Soul of Kentucky’s Best Brands
EPISODE FIVE // ALE 8-ONE
The overarching goal of the Road Trip Kentucky project is to, ultimately, tell some of the great stories of successful, meaningful, and impactful businesses throughout the history of our state. The beauty, and also the tragedy, of this effort is those stories aren’t too difficult to find. The problem is, we can’t tell them ALL.
But when it comes to brands born in the Commonwealth, there is one story that HAS to be told. It’s that of one of Kentucky’s oldest and boldest brands: Ale-8-One.
G.L. Wainscott began making and bottling soda water and other flavored drinks in Winchester, Ky., back in 1902. A couple of decades (and one lawsuit) later, he developed what would be his, and in time Kentucky’s, signature soft drink.
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For climbers, the ginger drink, Ale-8-One, has always been a place-specific indulgence, something synonymous with climbing in Eastern Kentucky’s Red River Gorge, like Miguel’s Pizza is, or the terms pulling pockets and getting pumped. Often perched on top of a gear-covered picnic table out front of this pizzeria-turned-climber-haunt, Ale-8 (we often drop the “One”) is as crucial an ingredient as flour, water or yeast is to Miguel Ventura’s world-renowned pizza crust. There’s even a route named after it, which the late “Flyin” Brian McCray established in 1995 at the Motherlode. Ale-8-One, 5.12b, became an instant classic.
When Miguel’s opened in the mid-80s, it pulled in the local product of Ale-8, which had been around since the early 1900s gaining its name from an ingenious 14-year-old-girl’s contest-winning slogan (“a late one”) for this new addition to the soda world. Here, just as nearly everything (and everyone) that spends enough time around Miguel’s Pizza, Ale-8 found a home.
Ale-8-One, the soft drink born in Winchester, Kentucky, is now available across the South
October 5, 2017
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.
When you think of a good bakeshop, there are a few necessary criteria. Of course, delicious sweet treats top the list, but it’s also crucial to provide a friendly atmosphere, have outstanding customer service—and a good cup of coffee doesn’t hurt, either. Well, in Winchester, just outside of Lexington, a rather new bakery passes this test with flying colors. The Banery is now in the running for the best little bakeshop in America, and you’ll soon see why.
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Dept. of Tourism Offers Fun Ideas for Kentucky travelers
FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 24, 2017) – The Kentucky Department of Tourism today announced the launch of 99 Days of Summer, an interactive section of the kentuckytourism.com website with 99 travel suggestions for the 2017 summer season, starting Memorial Day, May 29 and lasting through Labor Day weekend, September 4.
“There are so many great things to do in Kentucky that it can sometimes be overwhelming to make those summer travel plans,” Tourism Commissioner Kristen Branscum said. “99 Days of Summer was created to give you trip and activity suggestions whether you are leaving for a week or looking for something to do the next day. We want everyone to enjoy the summer and these daily ideas can help you do just that.”
The 99 Days of Summer website, kentuckytourism.com/99days is an interactive calendar with pictures, events, maps and further information to help plan your Kentucky summer travel. Travelers are encouraged to share their Kentucky travel adventures with #kysummer.
Each day has a different suggestion including traditional summer fun such as cooling off at a Kentucky State Park beach, finding the perfect fishing hole, or touring a horse farm. This year the list also includes one-of-a-kind summer activities only found in Kentucky such as rappelling into a cave 75 feet under the city of Horse Cave; sampling beer cheese all day long at the “Only Beer Cheese Festival in the World” in Winchester; learning about the 100th birthday of the great racehorse Man o War at the Kentucky Horse Park; or standing in the path of totality during the Great American Eclipse on August 21.