The Bulletin

Kaine takes up the fight to resurrect Northern Neck Ginger Ale

By: - December 13, 2022 4:46 pm

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (Photo by Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Sen. Tim Kaine is wading into the battle to resurrect Northern Neck Ginger Ale, a soft drink produced in Montross for almost 75 years that has maintained a cult following in Virginia despite being discontinued in 2020. 

In a letter to Coca-Cola, which produced the beverage and owns its recipe, Kaine urged the company “to find a way to continue the production and sale of Northern Neck Ginger Ale in the region, whether it is restarting production, selling the brand to another company interested in producing it, or working with local stakeholders to find a producer able to license and distribute the brand regionally.” 

Northern Neck Ginger Ale.

Asked by the Mercury if the senator was a drinker of the ginger ale himself, Kaine said the refreshment “has long been a staple of my wife’s family gatherings in Lancaster County and I can testify that there’s no better ginger ale on the planet.” 

Northern Neck Ginger Ale was first produced in 1926 by Arthur Carver in Montross, where it was subsequently made and bottled until 2001. In that year, Coca-Cola purchased the recipe and moved production to Sandston, outside Richmond. 

Then, in July 2020, News on the Neck reported the company had temporarily suspended the soda’s production, citing “industry-wide supply issues of cans” during the pandemic. Months later the company said it would retire the brand

In the wake of its demise, a vocal “Save Northern Neck Ginger Ale” group with thousands of members has sprung up, circulating petitions and purchasing a billboard in Richmond (which is not on the Northern Neck) that reads: “Northern Neck region, do you miss your ginger ale?” 

Former Gov. Ralph Northam, an Eastern Shore native, also reached out to Coca-Cola in 2020 in an effort to keep Northern Neck Ginger Ale in production, but his efforts were in vain. 

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Sarah Vogelsong
Sarah Vogelsong

Sarah is Editor-in-Chief of the Mercury and previously its environment and energy reporter. She has worked for multiple Virginia and regional publications, including Chesapeake Bay Journal, The Progress-Index and The Caroline Progress. Her reporting has won awards from groups such as the Society of Environmental Journalists and Virginia Press Association, and she is an alumna of the Columbia Energy Journalism Initiative and Metcalf Institute Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists. She is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. Contact her at [email protected]

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