‘Northern Neck Ginger Ale cannot go’: Virginians push to keep regional soda in production

Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginians are pushing to keep a soda native to the Commonwealth in production, after it was announced that it would be discontinued.

Northern Neck Ginger Ale will be retired by the end of the year, according to its parent company, Coca-Cola.

“One of the reasons people love it so much is it has an original taste. You can actually taste the ginger in the ginger ale. It’s not as sugary,” said LaWanda Kelly, who grew up on the Northern Neck.

The soda has been a fan favorite since 1926. It was originally bottled in Montross. The family-owned business, Northern Neck Bottling Company, was sold to Coca-Cola in 2001.

“If you’re from the Northern Neck, you feel like it’s your thing. The one thing that we have that no one else has,” Kelly told 8News.

Coca-Cola announced last week that Northern Neck Ginger Ale is one of several “underperforming products” that will be retired by the end of the year. The company said discontinuing these products will allow it to invest in its other brands.

However, Kelly said there is a market for the soda.

“We don’t want you to get rid of this product. We actually do want it. We buy it when it’s available. Give us more of it, don’t just send three or four to the grocery store at one time,” she said.

The announcement prompted Kelly to start a petition to keep it around. It is one of several online petitions gaining thousands of signatures.

“Northern Neck Ginger Ale cannot go. As I said, it’s a necessity in every household. Anyone from the Northern Neck or anyone that has tried it, I’m sure would agree, that it literally is a cure for everything. A tummy ache, a bad day,” Kelly said.

Gov. Ralph Northam is weighing in on the fight to keep the soda too. Northam said he has been in touch with Coca-Cola.

“We’re working with that company to allow us to hopefully bring Northern Neck Ginger Ale back to the Northern Neck, back to Montross where it originally was, and to continue to produce it,” Northam said Wednesday.

Northam said he is “hopeful” the soda will be brought back into production.

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