(NOT an Official Site)
About Ale 8-1:
Ale 8-1 (pronounced "Ale Eight-One," a pun on "A Late One") is a soft drink that got its start in Winchester, Kentucky in 1926. It's more like ginger ale than anything else, but it's got a bit more of... well, it's not quite ginger ale. The idea was that you'd drink it to settle your stomach at bedtime, back when soft drinks all claimed to have medicinal properties.
The drink has been a local success for decades, and is gradually -- very gradually -- expanding; in addition to the original plant in Winchester they contracted with a packer in Elizabethtown in 1980, while we lived in Kentucky, to produce the cans and plastic bottles (but not glass). According to a story in the February 13, 2002 Lexington Herald-Leader, Ale 8 contracted with Coca-Cola Enterprises to make it available even more widely, though apparently still just in Kentucky and southern portions of Ohio and Indiana. And just recently, in 2016, it was reportedly picked up by Cracker Barrel to be offered at their locations in forty-two states.
It's pretty good stuff, and curiously addictive; there are people in central Kentucky who guzzle it by the case. It's generally known just as "Ale Eight," dropping the 1. We'd more or less forgotten about it until we got back there on vacation in 1997 and saw the bottles and cans, but then it all came back. The kids wanted to try it, so we bought some.
Kiri loved it. She was annoyed that it couldn't easily be found anywhere near us. Later we occasionally had cases shipped to her at her various addresses, which was a hit.
Julian took longer to warm to it -- we got cans at first, and he thought it tasted too metallic, but when we got bottles he decided he liked that version a lot better.
We drank a good bit of it on our '97 vacation while we could, but even before we got out of Kentucky we reached places that had never heard of it.
Originally at this point I asked, "If anyone out there knows a way we could get it here in Maryland, let me know." Well, someone did. The company is now perfectly willing to ship cases of Ale 8 anywhere UPS will take it. There are significant shipping charges, but it's still worth it! We've bought a few cases. At current shipping rates it's about $27 for a twelve-pack, but that will vary with location.
If you'd care to try it, you can order by phone with your Mastercard or Visa -- the number is (859) 744-3484, and you need to call between 8:30 and 4:30 Eastern time, Monday through Friday -- or of course you can order from the official Ale-8-One website.
I'm also told you can visit the plant, at 25 Carol Road in Winchester, KY. There are plant tours available, and a gift shop, but I don't know any details. Call in advance, and to get there take the Van Meter Road exit off I-64. See their website for further information -- they're apparently on Facebook now, and have e-mail.
When I created this page the web was new, and they weren't as quick as some to take advantage of it, but they seem to be up to speed now.
Thanks to the late Rae Montor for her help on this, and to Dan Eastwood for bringing me up to date on a few things.
And thanks also to Frank A. Rogers III, the owner and CEO of the Ale 8 One company!
For those who got here by some method other than the front door -- hi! I'm Lawrence Watt-Evans, and this site is the Misenchanted Page. I'm the author of more than four dozen novels and over a hundred short stories, as well as innumerable articles, comic scripts, poems, and other miscellany -- but you'll find all that on my main webpage. This portion of the Misenchanted Page is devoted shamelessly to me, my family, and other stuff I'm interested in. I am not affiliated with the Ale-8-One company in any way, and for several years I removed e-mail links from this page (they're back now) because I got tired of e-mail from people who had searched on Ale-8, found this page, and assumed it was official. It's not.
There is an official Ale-8-One page now; check it out.
My site is collectively known as the Misenchanted Page, a reference to my bestselling novel The Misenchanted Sword, but there's lots of personal stuff, too. This particular page began as a sidebar to a report of our 1997 vacation.
That's it; here's your list of handy exits: