In a gastronomic feat that is certain to rock and roll the Tar Heel State more than the blood glucose levels of a Brittle diabetic, those NC stalwart manufacturers of our favorite health foods, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Cheerwine cherry soda have teamed up to create the ultimate limited edition confection, the Cheerwine Kreme Filled Krispy Kreme Doughnut. As reported in my hometown rag and sometimes employer, the Charlotte Observer, the two have collaborated on a combo that is sure to send even the most conservative weight watchers into a frantic search for the famous “hot now” sign that shines round the clock at Krispy Kreme outlets.

They won’t find the soda stuffed beignets there however as the creations will only be available in select  grocery stores and only through the month of July. Fans of the sweet treats will be able to get their fix tomorrow as the new product will be released Thursday to approximately 1,000 grocery stores across the Carolinas. The partnership brings together the two infamous  North Carolina brands. Krispy Kreme is headquartered in Winston-Salem; Cheerwine is based about 40 miles south in Salisbury.

Sold regionally as a “health and pleasure” drink from the 20s through the 40s, Cheerwine developed a small but loyal following. A fun story recalls President Eisenhower traveling through Salisbury in 1953 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Rowan County. He was the first President to enjoy the NC drink and was rumored to have said, “Ike likes!”

The drink has been continually manufactured and distributed in NC since the company’s founding in 1917. A special cult-like following has kept the soda selling regionally in North and South Carolina and even inspired then-Salisbury based Food Lion grocery chain to launch a Cheerwine flavored ice-cream in 2002.

Krispy Kreme has a similarly storied past with its first NC store opening up in 1938 in Old Salem. Slow growth and controlled openings over the next five decades kept the sugary treat in high demand and newly opened outlets were often met with frenzied crowds who jammed the doughnut shops.

In the mid 1990s the company began rapid expansion beyond their southeastern U.S. base and briefly became a Wall Street darling and “overnight” success. The success became short lived as the company faced forceful competition when it encroached into New England, Dunkin’ Donuts home turf and also has also had franchise issues and widespread closings over the past several years.

According to Cheerwine spokesperson, Tom Barbitta, the doughnuts will be packed with Cheerwine-infused crème and topped with a chocolate icing and a healthy dose of red and white sprinkles.

What took them so long?

Michael J. Solender

Michael J. Solender

Michael J. Solender is a recent corporate refugee whose opinion and satire has been featured in The Richmond Times Dispatch, The Winston-Salem Journal, and Richmond Style Weekly. He writes a weekly Neighborhoods column for The Charlotte Observer and is the City Life Editor for Charlotte ViewPoint. His micro-fiction has been featured online at Bull Men’s Fiction, Calliope Nerve, Danse Macabre, Dogzplot, Gloom Cupboard, Full of Crow, Pangur Ban Party and others.

You can find more of his work at his website and also at his blog.