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Looking for a Pop/Soda Named Wink

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

    3 Replies
    1. re: Leadmine

      FANTASTIC - thanks!

      1. re: estufarian

        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

          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. 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

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

        1. re: MandalayVA

          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

          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

            Harris Teeter has it in the Outer Banks.

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

            1. re: 4Scots

              Thanks for the confirmation.

        3. 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

            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

              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

                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

                  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

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

                    1. re: rockycat

                      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. Gin and Wink. Great summertime cocktail.

              1. 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

                  Thanks - has anyone else seen cans????

                  1. re: estufarian

                    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

                      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. I would just go get me a Cheerwine.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Sue in Mt P

                    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

                      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

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

                  2. 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

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

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: littlegirltree

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

                        1. re: estufarian

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

                          1. re: meatn3

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

                          2. re: estufarian

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

                            1. re: billyjack

                              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. 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

                            Thanks - I leave tomorrow!

                          2. 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

                              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

                                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

                                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

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

                                  1. re: tryityoulllikeit

                                    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

                                      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

                                  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

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

                                  2. 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

                                      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. 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. 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