The Ale-8 Bottling Company is one of the Bluegrass Region’s most historic businesses. The company traces it’s roots back to a man named George Lee Wainscott, a native of Owenton, Kentucky. Wainscott began bottling drinks in 1902, creating unique flavors such as Roxa-Kola. In search of a name for his new formula of soft drink, he sponsored one of America’s first “slogan contests” at the Clark County fair, and the pun, “A late one,” was born. He launched Ale-8 on July 13, 1926 out of his bottling plant on North Main Street in Winchester.
From that day on, Ale-8 experienced huge success throughout the Tri-State region, reaching over 61 counties in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. Over 1.5 million cases of Ale-8 are sold in the region each year (as of 2015). Other products also bear the Ale-8 logo, such as Ale-8 suckers that are produced by the Ruth Hunt Candy Company in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky and Ale-8 salsa, which incorporates Kentucky-grown ingredients. Kentucky’s Soft Drink and their other products are still sold throughout the Bluegrass, as well as memorabilia and specialty items.
The Ale-8 Bottling Company has remained within the same family since its conception and is the only soft drink invented in Kentucky that is still in existence. The company is also a part of the Kentucky Proud program, an initiative that supports the local agricultural economy of Kentucky by promoting products grown by Kentucky farmers or made with Kentucky grown ingredients. In the early 2000s, the Ale-8 company started its own movement to send the taste of Kentucky’s Soft Drink overseas to American troops. Their efforts on social media outlets like Twitter using the hashtag #P8TRIOT resulted in the donation of more than 2,000 cases to the men and women in America’s armed forces.