I think that this information is probably going to surprise some people, but the way we use cranberries for sauces and fermented beverages is a very old practice from Northern Europe.
Vaccinium oxycoccus and Vaccinium microcarpus are both native species in the British Isles and were used quite widely as food and medicine. The English called them fen berry or moor-berries. The Welsh called them llygaeron and Ceiros-y-waun. Clan Grant in Scotland wore Mùileag as their heraldic emblem into the 19th century. In Ireland you also saw it referred to as monog (peat berry).