Red Cheek Goes For The Gusto

Posted: March 05, 1987

For more than 50 years, Red Cheek has sold its apple juice warm in supermarkets.

That changed somewhat last month, when Red Cheek, based in Fleetwood, Pa., worked out an agreement with Smiler Beverage Co., a Philadelphia beer distributor, to distribute sell Red Cheek's new, 10-ounce bottles of apple juice to delicatessens, pizza parlors or restaurants, where it can be refrigerated.

"It's called growing the business," said Franklin Claire, Red Cheek's president, when asked why the company is pushing its product through a beer distributor. "There is a huge potential for growth by selling our products in a place where it can be refrigerated."

Red Cheek is the No.1 apple juice sold in Philadelphia, with 22.5 percent of the market.

Red Cheek also is trying to grow by offering a wider variety of products other than the traditional 100 percent pure apple juice.

Besides its natural apple juice, the company is also selling a number of blends, including apple-grape, apple-raspberry, apple-cherry, and apple-grape.

Carl Smiler, the retired president of Smiler Beverage, 1517 S. 52nd St., said selling the apple juice will help his company because beer sales have declined with the passage of strict drunk-driving laws.

Claire said that, in the next few weeks, Red Cheek will announce that it has signed other beer distributors.

Whether cold apple juice will be a hit or a miss with the soft-drink crowd is still an open question, said Gus Karros, owner of Fiesta Pizza Jr., 207 S. 38th St.

"It's selling pretty fair . . . not good and not bad," Karros said.

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