New Vernors Black Cherry flavor will be available almost exclusively in Michigan

Brace yourselves, Vernors lovers. A new flavor of the iconic Detroit-born pop is soon headed our way.

Vernors Black Cherry will be nearly exclusively on Michigan store shelves. The only other market is the Toledo area.

Vernors Black Cherry will be available in 12-pack, 2-liter and 20-ounce bottles in regular version only, according to Elizabeth Hensen, market development manager for Keurig Dr Pepper, in Holland, Michigan.

Vernors Black Cherry, a limited edition flavor will launch this summer.
Vernors Black Cherry, a limited edition flavor will launch this summer.

“Vernors Black Cherry Ginger soda — the first flavor variation of the iconic ginger soda in more than 50 years — will be launched exclusively in Michigan and surrounding Toledo, Ohio, this summer," Hensen said.

But before you rush out to find some, Vernors Black Cherry will not arrive in stores until Aug. 1. It will be available for a limited time only and be out of the market by the end of October.

It was only fitting that Keurig Dr Pepper — the company that owns the Vernors brand — bring the new flavor to Vernors loyalists in the state it was created in.

What's the buzz

A Facebook post from the Vernors Club on Tuesday evening read:

“Hold on to your hats, Vernors lovers! Our favorite brand is coming out with the first new flavor in decades ... Get it while you can!”

There were nearly 1,000 comments on the post and it had more than 9,000 shares.

Keith Wunderlich, of Troy, a Vernors historian who posted the announcement, said the post has been seen more than 425,000 times.

“From a collectors and drink standpoint, I am so excited about this new flavor," he said. "It’s great. It sounds fantastic, and I can’t wait to try it."

Most of the comments appear to be welcoming of the new flavor.

Vernors Black Cherry, a limited-edition flavor will launch this summer.
Vernors Black Cherry, a limited-edition flavor will launch this summer.

But some wondered about its taste and whether Vernors Black Cherry will have the same remedy as the original on upset tummies or just as a pick-me-up when you’re not feeling well.

Also, many comments referred to the Boston cooler, an ice cream drink of sorts featuring Vernors poured over vanilla ice cream, and whether the new flavor would work in place of the Vernors original. Others mentioned and wondered how it could be used in cocktails.

"The only angry people are the ones that can’t get it," Wunderlich said.

The Vernors Club Facebook is a group of Vernors advertising collectors, according to its Facebook page.

Vernors history

Most Detroiters know Vernors. The iconic brand has been around for more than 150 years. It’s the ginger ale pop (Detroiters or Michiganders, in fact, don’t call it soda) created by James Vernor, a young pharmacist employed with the Higby & Sterns drugstore, on Woodward in Detroit, in 1866.

Vernors is well known for its fizz — carbonation so powerful you'd swear all those fizzy bubbles sneak up your nose, making you twitch, wince and shake your head. Once you take a sip, those bubbles hit your nose before the sweet, gingery drink hits your lips.

As the story goes, James Vernor was experimenting with a ginger-flavored syrup formula to be used in soft drinks. But Vernor was called off to fight in the Civil War in 1862.

Before Vernor left, he stored his experiment in an oak cask. Four years later, when he returned from the war (after being captured twice), he opened the cask and found that the syrup had mellowed in flavor. And in 1866, the syrup used to create Vernors Ginger Ale was born — making it the oldest continually produced pop in the U.S.

Vernor declared the formula "Deliciously Different," which ultimately became the pop's marketing slogan. Vernor, according to the Detroit Historical Society, ran a soda fountain next to the pharmacy and for several years it was the only place you could get the refresher. As the drink became more popular, Vernor began selling to other soda fountains.

"For the first 30 years, you could only get Vernors at a soda fountain, and you had to have a soda jerk make it for you," Wunderlich told the Free Press in 2016. "It wasn’t bottled until 1896."

Up until 1985, according to the Detroit Almanac, Vernors was made and bottled in Detroit at a riverfront plant. After 1951, the brand was produced at a "green-and-yellow, glass-fronted plant on Woodward near Wayne State. The building was famous for its sign: Hundreds of flickering lights showed Vernors being poured into a glass by a gnome."

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By 1966, the family-owned company was sold to a group of investors. The brand is now owned by Keurig Dr Pepper.

Contact Detroit Free Press food writer Susan Selasky and send food and restaurant news to: Follow @SusanMariecooks on Twitter.

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Vernors to release new black cherry flavor in Michigan, Ohio