Root Beer Fun Facts

Did you know…..

      • August 6th is National Root Beer Float Day. [1]
      • Root beer floats are sometimes referred to by the nicknames “brown cow” or “black cow.” [2] [3]
      • A reverse root beer float is made with root beer ice cream and vanilla soda. [13]
      • Root beer is almost exclusively a North American drink. [4]
      • In 1960 safrole, the oily liquid extracted from the root-bark of sassafras plants and a key root beer ingredient, was banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a likely carcinogen. [5] 
        • Don’t worry, safrole is no longer used in root beer marketed in the United States.
      • Both Benjamin Franklin and George Washington were fans of small beer, the precursor to root beer. [4]
      • Charles E. Hires was the first person to produce and market root beer throughout the United States. [2]
      • Hires initially marketed his beverage as “root tea.” [2] [6]
      • By 1876 Hires had changed the name of his beverage to Hires Root Beer, and he presented the drink at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition, celebrating America’s 100th birthday. [2]
        • The Philadelphia exhibition also included Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, Heinz ketchup and the Remington typewriter. [2]
      • In the 1880s, Hires began gaiving away trading cards with his root beer. [6]All_gone_Could_I_have_another_glass_of_that_Hires'_Rootbeer9174454ad77892e0a30c497c926d52ee
      • In 1895 the Women’s Christian Temperance Union called for a nationwide bar of Hires Root Beer on suspicion that the soda contained alcohol.  Their ban lasted for three years.  Charles E. Hires, who did not drink alcohol, had an independent lab test his root beer’s alcohol content.  The results presented in 1898 found that Hires Root Beer had the same alcohol content as half a loaf of bread. [7]
      • A&W is the number one selling brand of root beer in America. [7]
      • The A and W in A&W stand for Alan and Wright. [7]
      • Roy Allen purchased the root beer formula for A&W root beer from an Arizona Pharmacist.  The first batch was made in June of 1919. [9]
      • Roy Allen’s root beer was not known as A&W until 1922 when he began a partnership with Frank Wright, one of the employee’s at Allen’s road side root beer stand in Lodi, California. [9]
      • By 1960 there were more than 2000 A&W restaurants, more than the number of McDonald’s restaurants which existed at that time. [9]
      • According to A&W, the shelf life for its root beer in glass and cans is 39 weeks, 13 weeks for root beer in plastic bottles, and 13 weeks for all diet products. [10]
      • In 1927 John and Alice Marriott purchased an A&W franchise in Washington, D.C.  The Mariotts named their root beer restaurant The Hot Shoppe.  Their restaurant expanded, and eventually led to the creation of Mariott Hotels. [4] [11]
      • The Sonic chain of drive-in restaurants began as a hamburger and root beer stand in Shawnee, Oklahoma, in 1953. [2]
      • The first ice-cream soda was sold in 1874. [12]
      • William Painter invented the crown bottle cap in 1892. [12]
      • The first patent for a glass blowing machine used to produce glass battles was issued in 1899. [12]

5.  21 CFR 189.180;


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