Ale-8-One is Kentucky’s official soft drink, and the only one invented in Kentucky that is still in existence. It’s been manufactured and bottled in Winchester, KY since 1926 when G. L. Wainscott developed the original secret formula for the ginger-flavored drink after battling competitive cola drink makers.
The name “Ale-8-One” resulted from a contest held at the Clark County Fair to name the drink. The phrase “A Late One” was the winner, at the time meaning the drink was the latest (newest) thing in soft drinks.
For thirty years beginning in 1935, the soft drink was bottled in downtown Winchester. In 1965, the company moved its bottling operation to its present location on the outskirts of town.
For many years, people living in other parts of the country bribed friends and family to ship them a bottle or a case of the local drink. Finally in 2002, the company began a wider distribution of the soft drink to include Ohio and Indiana, as well as the metro areas of Louisville and Cincinnati, and Eastern Kentucky.
In the early 2000’s, Diet Ale-8-One was introduced to the market, and Ale-8-One salsa is now available through an affiliation with the Kentucky Proud program. In addition, Ruth Hunt Candy company has reintroduced their Ale-8-One suckers after nearly twenty years.
Ale-8-One offers tours and you can purchase this Kentucky favorite online as well as in many stores around the state.