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Looking for a Pop/Soda Named Wink

estufarian Jul 14, 2011 01:44 PM

Can anybody help slake my thirst for information on the possible whereabouts of a pop/soda/soft drink branded as “Wink”?

In Canada, this was last marketed as CPlus Wink, although it may exist in both North & South Carolina as ‘Canada Dry Wink’ – the corporate umbrella is Dr. Pepper, but their 1-800 number leads to perhaps the least helpful customer service department I’ve ever encountered.
“We’re NOT ALLOWED (my caps) to tell you where you can get Wink. Go into your local grocery store and ask them to order it”! (and by the way there are no supervisors available right now).

I’ve posted on this search several times (in Canada e.g.
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/100674 ), and along the way got various feedback (several years old now) that the Carolinas were the last bulwark of supply.

I will be visiting NC (and bits of Virginia) in about a month, arriving/departing from Charlotte and passing through Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill – and probably Lexington. But this post is strictly on Wink.

Has anybody seen this product – as much detail as possible please (e.g. if a chain of grocery stores I can also check other outlets)?

My most recent search found a Wikipedia Wink page which cited my own Chowhound posts as links – so if I’m the expert-of-record, please join my team of Chowhound Investigative Assistants and help me track down this elusive product (cans and/or bottles).

Thanks all – expect a separate post to narrow down my dining options – I’m still researching.

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  1. l
    Leadmine RE: estufarian Jul 14, 2011 01:57 PM

    In the Raleigh area you can find Wink at most grocery stores. I know Harris Teeter carries it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Leadmine
      estufarian RE: Leadmine Jul 14, 2011 02:16 PM

      FANTASTIC - thanks!

      1. re: estufarian
        s
        sashapt RE: estufarian Jul 15, 2011 03:18 AM

        Yes, HT does carry it, but if you don't see it in the soda aisle, check the water/mixers aisle. We usually find Wink near the seltzer and ginger ale, which is often in a different part of the store for some reason.

        1. re: sashapt
          estufarian RE: sashapt Jul 15, 2011 07:05 AM

          That's helpful - in Canada the ginger ales are mixed in with the pop. If I don't see it - I'll ask! anyway.

    2. f
      fcbaldwin RE: estufarian Jul 15, 2011 06:20 AM

      Canada Dry Wink is a grapefruit juice flavored drink that has been around the Richmond, VA area for many years. I think you can find it at Food Lion as well as possibly Martin's and Kroger.

      5 Replies
      1. re: fcbaldwin
        MandalayVA RE: fcbaldwin Jul 15, 2011 06:38 AM

        Really? I've never seen it and I'm in all those stores in Richmond.

        1. re: MandalayVA
          f
          fcbaldwin RE: MandalayVA Jul 15, 2011 11:18 AM

          Yes. It will be where the bloody mary mixers and other drink mixers are located. The quantity of stock isn't always plentiful, however. Also, you only see it in those pale green plastic 1qt(approx) bottles.

        2. re: fcbaldwin
          estufarian RE: fcbaldwin Jul 15, 2011 07:06 AM

          I'm in Raleigh first, so hope to have stocked up by then. But, it's always handy to have a plan B.
          Thanks.

          1. re: estufarian
            4
            4Scots RE: estufarian Jul 18, 2011 11:40 AM

            Harris Teeter has it in the Outer Banks.

            -----
            Harris Teeter
            , New Bern, NC 28560

            1. re: 4Scots
              estufarian RE: 4Scots Jul 18, 2011 12:08 PM

              Thanks for the confirmation.

        3. meatn3 RE: estufarian Jul 18, 2011 04:38 PM

          I've only been to one grocery in Raleigh since you posted - Lowes Food. They have Wink, but only in 2 liter bottles. I have found the plastic bottles don't keep as well as glass or cans, not sure if that is an issue for you.

          6 Replies
          1. re: meatn3
            estufarian RE: meatn3 Jul 18, 2011 06:40 PM

            Thank you for your diligent follow-up.

            I've checked the websites for both Lowes and Harris Teeter and NEITHER show any relevant results for a search for either Wink or Canada Dry.

            Clearly they must be available - and indeed I'd much prefer cans - I agree that plastic bottles certainly deteriorate faster.

            Can I renew my original request for ANYBODY (not just meatn3 and the other responders above) to identify whether cans are currently on-shelf? Fortunately, I still have time to contact individual stores to ensure supply (Harris Teeter in particular have a special request form and promise to ship to local outlet). I haven't finalized my restaurant itinerary (which usually precedes my hotel choice - and hence determining the closest store) - but clearly I need to make some decisions there as well.

            Again thanks to all who've helped so far - clearly it's time for an Appendix to my original search opus. Between the major pop companies and multiple branch supermarkets it's astounding (to me) that finding a specific brand could be so difficult! I had assumed that many of these would have state-of-the-art inventory control systems.

            1. re: estufarian
              estufarian RE: estufarian Jul 19, 2011 05:42 AM

              Just had another thought - if anyone DOES find this - please can you note the Product Code (UPC)? That should make it easier to order - I do have the old C Plus one, but it might be different for the Canada Dry version.

              1. re: estufarian
                r
                rockycat RE: estufarian Jul 20, 2011 06:29 AM

                I did find Wink on HT's website. I also looked on the shelf yesterday. It's in 2 litre bottles with the mixers, on "sale" at $1.49 per bottle (down from $1.89) until January. Yes, January.

                1. re: rockycat
                  estufarian RE: rockycat Jul 20, 2011 06:57 AM

                  Thanks - at least I know it's available. Still can't find it on HT site though (but it sometimes may have searched a specific store - I don't always remember to reload).
                  But the only item my search returns (just reloaded) is Loreal Liquid Lip Wink Lipstick!
                  Even an advanced Google search additionally only found Revlon Pink for Wink Lipstick (at a handful of stores) and
                  Covergirl Wild Berry Wink Lipstain - even fewer stores.

                  Obviously a fair amount of Lip Winking in NC.

                  Which store had the 'real stuff'?

                  Thanks

                  1. re: estufarian
                    r
                    rockycat RE: estufarian Jul 20, 2011 11:13 AM

                    I looked under the Express Lane shopping tab for the Stonehenge store in Raleigh. It was on the shelf there, too.

                    1. re: rockycat
                      estufarian RE: rockycat Jul 20, 2011 12:43 PM

                      Thank you - didn't understand the relevance of the Express Lane concept -at first.
                      Now can check it at any/all stores along my route.

            2. s
              sluggrock RE: estufarian Jul 19, 2011 05:58 PM

              Gin and Wink. Great summertime cocktail.

              1. j
                johnforamerica RE: estufarian Jul 22, 2011 07:56 AM

                Yeah, the Kroger on Hillsborough in Durham ALWAYS has the 2L in stock. Can't say I've ever seen cans...

                3 Replies
                1. re: johnforamerica
                  estufarian RE: johnforamerica Jul 22, 2011 09:41 AM

                  Thanks - has anyone else seen cans????

                  1. re: estufarian
                    j
                    johnforamerica RE: estufarian Jul 23, 2011 03:09 PM

                    I checked the Kroger for you - no cans. What they DO have, though, are cans of Squirt. Squirt and Wink taste identical to me. Would that work?

                    1. re: johnforamerica
                      estufarian RE: johnforamerica Jul 25, 2011 06:56 AM

                      That's a bit scary - Squirt tastes (to me) nothing like Wink (as I recall it). No grapefruit 'tang'.
                      It's possible that the US version of Wink is a different formulation than the previous Canadian version (e.g. Canadian 'Coke' is a different formulation than U.S. 'Coke' - which led to the whole 'New Coke' debacle a decade or two ago; New Coke was actually the Canadian formulation which showed better in taste tests across North America - but you don't fool with mother nature (so to speak)).
                      But I'll know for sure by the middle of August!

                2. Sue in Mt P RE: estufarian Jul 23, 2011 05:45 PM

                  I would just go get me a Cheerwine.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Sue in Mt P
                    estufarian RE: Sue in Mt P Jul 25, 2011 06:59 AM

                    I admire your patriotism.
                    Of course I'll try it.
                    As a separate (sort of related) thought - does anyone make a pear-flavored soda?

                    1. re: estufarian
                      meatn3 RE: estufarian Jul 25, 2011 09:18 AM

                      You might enjoy the video on Chow, part of the obsessives series, about the guy who has a soda shop in L.A. My SOS visited the shop while in California and was amazed at the variety. They ship too! Their website shows only a fraction of the options available.

                      Since you like grapefruit you might enjoy Ting, from the Caribbean. Both regular and pink can be found in the Raleigh area if you have interest.

                      1. re: meatn3
                        estufarian RE: meatn3 Jul 25, 2011 12:46 PM

                        Thank you.
                        Ting is my favorite for mixed drinks (I particularly favor a Tingtini!).
                        Unfortunately, the Pink version doesn't compare (for me).

                  2. b
                    boaviagem RE: estufarian Jul 25, 2011 05:35 PM

                    Wink the sassy one from Canada Dry
                    Wink the sassy one from Canada Dry
                    Wink has grapfruit sparkle
                    Man it's really hip
                    Wink is so refreshing
                    Take a sip and you will flip
                    For Wink the sassy one from Canada Dry

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: boaviagem
                      tryityoulllikeit RE: boaviagem Aug 6, 2011 11:30 AM

                      Love it! You beat me to it...I'm singing in my head.

                      It is unique in that grapefruit tang. Yum! Speaking of grapefruit tang, I grew up enjoying a nice Collins Mix (qt bottles in the mixer section, Canada Dry?), even less sweet but crisp and delicious. Great for a N.C. summer.

                    2. littlegirltree RE: estufarian Jul 27, 2011 09:35 PM

                      Spotted Wink 2 liter bottles @ Total Wine on Independence Blvd last weekend.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: littlegirltree
                        estufarian RE: littlegirltree Jul 28, 2011 09:41 PM

                        Thanks - looks like a good supply in 2 litres - anyne seen cans?

                        1. re: estufarian
                          meatn3 RE: estufarian Jul 29, 2011 09:06 AM

                          I've looked at several different supermarkets, only 2 liter bottles.

                          1. re: meatn3
                            estufarian RE: meatn3 Aug 1, 2011 10:05 PM

                            Thanks for your efforts.
                            2liter bottles it shall be.

                          2. re: estufarian
                            b
                            billyjack RE: estufarian Aug 1, 2011 10:11 AM

                            I'm familiar with Wink...can't say I remember ever buying it in cans.

                            1. re: billyjack
                              estufarian RE: billyjack Aug 1, 2011 10:06 PM

                              It may be a function of the bottling plant. My guess is that different plants are used for cans/bottles - would make production and shipping much simpler.

                              So possibly only one bottling plant remaining for local distribution.

                        2. f
                          fcbaldwin RE: estufarian Aug 10, 2011 12:51 PM

                          Have only seen it in 1ltr plastic bottles. Saw it on the shelf at Martin's in Sycamore Square in Midlothian, VA. yesterday.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: fcbaldwin
                            estufarian RE: fcbaldwin Aug 10, 2011 02:13 PM

                            Thanks - I leave tomorrow!

                          2. estufarian RE: estufarian Aug 11, 2011 07:23 PM

                            Well, I’m sitting here having my first glass of Wink for several years.
                            And it’s good – but NOT what I recall!

                            In particular it lacks the ‘tang’ I associate with grapefruit. Just a little too sweet and mellow.

                            Checking the ingredients list, it’s clear that the NC formulation has some differences from the Canadian version I recall. The ‘final’ Canadian version (also sweeter than the version before Cadbury diverted/sold the Brand to Dr. Pepper) claimed about 5% juice – and only grapefruit was on the label. The version I picked up today (called Citrus as opposed to the Canadian ‘grapefruit’) doesn’t specify the juice content, but shows Apple Juice as the prime fruit content (that’s an interesting aside – when did apple juice become citrus?), then Grapefruit, then Orange (again, the Canadian version didn’t have orange).
                            So clearly this is a substitute rather than an imitation – it’s possible this was always the NC formulation.

                            I guess you can’t go home again. But my fruitless (!) quest for the Wink at the end of the rainbow must now end.

                            Thanks everyone for their help – I’m sure I’ll learn to love again, even if it doesn’t have the bitter-sweet memories!

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: estufarian
                              Sue in Mt P RE: estufarian Aug 11, 2011 07:28 PM

                              You poor ole thing! Gichoo a Cheerwine with your Q in NC. Its not wink, but maybe you can find a new love. Hope you have a great trip. Don't burn up.

                              1. re: Sue in Mt P
                                estufarian RE: Sue in Mt P Aug 12, 2011 05:59 AM

                                I DID have Cheerwine with my BBQ (in Lexington, en route).

                                Excellent cherry flavor, but lacks the acidity I get (got!) in Wink. It's the tang I was trying to recapture - most pops are too sweet for my taste.

                                Indeed Cheerwine is a bit different, so I definitely understand why it might ignite a similar passion.

                                Also tried a 'Pink Grapefruit Sparkling Ice' - but recoiled at Aspartame content - not listed as such in ingredients, but contains Sucralose - haven't researched but tastes identical to me.

                              2. re: estufarian
                                f
                                fcbaldwin RE: estufarian Aug 12, 2011 07:04 AM

                                It's a long list of old products that have been screwed with over the years, with many ruined. The brand names have been sold and re-sold, and then bastardized by the corporate idiots who couldn't leave a good thing alone.

                                Your description of how you remember Wink sounds to me like a product that I no longer see anymore by Canada Dry called simply Collins Mixer, or something like that. It was very tangy and dry, not "sweet" at all really. I, too, wish that were still around.

                                1. re: fcbaldwin
                                  tryityoulllikeit RE: fcbaldwin Aug 13, 2011 08:42 PM

                                  It is! Look in the tonic and ginger ale section. I mentioned that above as well...yum.

                                  1. re: tryityoulllikeit
                                    f
                                    fcbaldwin RE: tryityoulllikeit Aug 15, 2011 06:29 AM

                                    I'll look again for the Collins Mixer, but I can't remember seeing it in the Richmond area for a long time. Where in NC can you get it?

                                    1. re: fcbaldwin
                                      tryityoulllikeit RE: fcbaldwin Aug 15, 2011 08:54 PM

                                      I tend to run into it without looking. A quick search came up with Canada Dry brand as well as Polar. I suppose any major grocery store would have it in the mixer department.

                                2. re: estufarian
                                  meatn3 RE: estufarian Aug 12, 2011 11:47 AM

                                  I haven't tried Wink in years, but it used to be made as you describe with just grapefruit juice in the USA also.

                                  1. re: estufarian
                                    j
                                    johnforamerica RE: estufarian Aug 14, 2011 06:08 AM

                                    So I WAS right. It tastes EXACTLY like Squirt (nowadays, at least). Sorry for your loss, lol!

                                  2. a
                                    aldevoranshellmouth RE: estufarian Jun 20, 2014 12:47 PM

                                    I too was a fan of "Wink" due to our mother buying it from the late 60's on here in WA state until it was no longer available out here. I found it again while traveling back in FL back in 94. It use to be made using cane sugar but the stuff in it now causes it to bare no resemblance to what it once was as you found out too.
                                    My wife and I were out recently shopping at Albertsons here in the Spokane, WA area I found "Kiss" (link below) and was totally blown away as to how it was what in my mind I remembered "Wink" being. Here is also another link to a taste testing on different grapefruit soda's and "Kiss" won.

                                    http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2011/06...

                                    http://www.orcabeverage.com/storefron...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: aldevoranshellmouth
                                      estufarian RE: aldevoranshellmouth Jun 20, 2014 01:53 PM

                                      Many thanks for the info - although Kiss probably won't make it to Canada - only the contiguous states are mentioned (and we're not that.... yet?). But I'll keep my eyes open for Kiss when I'm next out that way.
                                      I have tried a couple of 'store' brands along the way - but nothing worth writing about.

                                      HOWEVER, in the intervening years suppliers in Canada now import the San Pellegrino line in cans (previously only the water and a restricted line of cans) and we can now get the Pompelmo (sparkling in cans) which contains 16% grapefruit juice. This concentration is much higher than all the products previously described in this thread, but it has become my grapefruit soda of choice. Of course, it is much more expensive than the mass-market pops but, to me, it's worth the occasional splurge. Regularly about $5 for 6 cans but occasionally on sale for around $3 (which is when I buy by the caseload).

                                    2. d
                                      debdessaso RE: estufarian Jun 20, 2014 05:26 PM

                                      Last year while browsing in the Calvert-Woodley liquor store in the 4300 block of Connecticut Avenue, NW, in Wash., DC, I saw the large size bottle of Wink. I'll check again next week to see if they still carry it. Does anyone know if there is a diet Wink?

                                      1. b
                                        boaviagem RE: estufarian Jun 21, 2014 06:26 PM

                                        Wink the sassy one
                                        From Canada Dry
                                        Wink has grapefruit sparkle
                                        Man it's really hip
                                        Wink is so refreshing
                                        Take a sip
                                        And you'll flip
                                        For Wink the sassy one
                                        From Canada Dry

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