Blenheim Bottlers P O Box 452, Hamer S.C. 29547 843-774-0322
The mineral springs, located eight miles from Bennettsville in Blenheim, SC, were discovered in 1781 by James Spears, a Whig (one who opposed allegiance to Great Britain and supported the American revolution) who was trying to escape Tory troops (who supported allegiance to Great Britain). Mr. Spears lost a shoe in a water hole. When he returned to retrieve his shoe, he tasted the water and noticed its strong mineral content. Word of the springs spread and soon people were coming to taste the cool refreshing water. Several wealthy plantation owners built summer homes in the vicinity of the springs.
In the late 1800s, Bennettsville Dr. C.R. May advised his patients with stomach problems to drink the mineral water from the Blenheim Artesian Mineral Springs. When they complained about the bitter taste of the mineral water, Dr. May added Jamaican Ginger to it.
In 1903, Dr. May and A.J. Matheson, both from Bennettsville, opened the Blenheim Bottling Co. In 1920, a building which housed the bottling works was constructed at the springs and operated until 1993, when the Schafer family, owners of the South of the Border tourist complex, purchased the company. They embarked on renovating the old plant to meet new standards and began bottling this unique Ginger Ale. Within weeks, however, it was clear that the old plant could never meet the demand that existed for Blenheim Ginger Ale, so a new plant was built with larger capacity at South of the Border. The Shafer’s maintain the quality and uniqueness of the original ale recipe, including the use of water from the mineral springs.
As of 2008, Blenheim Ginger Ale comes in three degrees…Hot (known to locals as “the old’ #3” & has a pink cap), mild and diet. Blenheim Ginger Ale can be purchased at several locations in Bennettsville, including Breeden Grocery.