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Blenheim’s Ginger Ale — Hamer, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Dillon County  |  Blenheim’s Ginger Ale

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Blenheim’s Ginger Ale

Innocuous packaging and the words ginger ale do nothing to warn the unsuspecting of Blenheim’s fiery kick. Concocted from a secret blend of spices, this South Carolina icon is one that will both quench your thirst and set your mouth ablaze. While its reputation spans the country, Blenheim’s has deep roots in the Pee Dee region of our state. The story begins with the accidental discovery of a mineral spring near the present-day town of Blenheim. In 1781, Patriot James Spears was running from the English when he lost his shoe in a water hole. After a successful escape, he went back for his shoe. Hot and exhausted, he sat down to take a sip of the cool water and noticed its strong mineral taste. Word spread, and in subsequent decades, the area became popular with the plantation set, who sought relief from the summer heat.

Blenheim Springs Marker

Brandi Faulk of Mount Croghan, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

By the 1890s, a permanent village had been established. Local physician, C. R. May began prescribing the beneficial waters from Blenheim’s spring. To make the strong taste more palatable to his patients, the doctor added Jamaican ginger. The new beverage gained popularity, and Dr. May and A. J. Matheson opened the Blenheim Bottling Company in 1903. Blenheim’s Ginger Ale was born.

Blenheim Ruins Exterior

Brandi Faulk of Mount Croghan, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

For the next eight decades, Blenheim’s remained a small operation and eschewed any efforts to modernize. The granulated sugar was even hand-shaken into each bottle! The peppery drink was introduced to a national audience by Playboy in 1985. Charles Kuralt and the New York Times quickly followed suit.

Blenheim Factory Ruins Looking In

Brandi Faulk of Mount Croghan, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Demand steadily increased, and in 1993, Alan Schafer, owner of South of the Border, bought out the company. Shortly thereafter, he relocated the plant to Hamer where it remains to this day. The original factory in Blenheim still stands, just a stone’s throw from the mineral springs.

Blenheim Factory Ruins Interior

Brandi Faulk of Mount Croghan, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Despite the move, the operation continues to be a modest one. Blenheim’s remains elusive in many stores, and as such, has acquired a bit of a cult following. Mention of this oft-revered drink can spark animated behavior in its devotees.Thankfully, there are three spicy varieties of Blenheim Ginger Ale to choose from: Hot (pink cap), Not As Hot (gold cap), and Diet (white cap). While we happily urge you to try this unique drink, we’ll recommend you try the Not As Hot first.

Blenheim Ginger Ale

SCIWAY, 2008 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

More Pictures of Blenheim’s Ginger Ale

Blenheim Factory Ruins Detail

Brandi Faulk of Mount Croghan, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Blenheim Factory Window

Brandi Faulk of Mount Croghan, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Blenheim Ginger Ale Factory Interior Wall

Brandi Faulk of Mount Croghan, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Blenheim’s Ginger Ale Info

Address: Highway 301 North, Hamer, SC 29547
GPS Coordinates: 34.495536,-79.306262
Website: http://www.blenheimgingerale.com/

Blenheim’s Ginger Ale Map

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6 Comments about Blenheim’s Ginger Ale

SCIWAY says:
March 7th, 2016 at 9:21 am

Hi, Thomas. We represent South Carolina history and culture, and not any one place or product specifically. Thus, we are not associated with Blenheim’s Ginger Ale – we just appreciate it as a SC product! Best of luck tracking it down in NC!

Thomas Fox says:
March 6th, 2016 at 9:17 pm

A local store used to sell your product but since they stopped several years ago I haven’t been able to find it anywhere. Can I get a list of stores in the Catawba county NC area that stock you product?

GreatGingerAle says:
February 27th, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Blenheim Ginger Ale #3 or #5…the best tasting Ginger Ale ever if you love “real ginger”. I live in KY and have it shipped to me. It’s that good!

Cathy Brock Hunter says:
January 21st, 2011 at 9:24 am

Pour Blenheim Ginger Ale over vanilla ice cream! Best ice cream float that you’ll ever have.

Cathy Brock Hunter says:
January 20th, 2011 at 4:21 pm

I help my daddy, Robert Brock at Brock’s Grocery in Blenheim sell so many of these drinks. A lot of folks traveling to the beach would stop and ask for them. Great memories!

USCooper says:
November 2nd, 2010 at 3:03 pm

I love Blenheim’s ginger ale! Serve ice cold or over ice- it’s got an awesome kick yet keeps you coming back.

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