Today as A&W Root Beer sits on a shelf, competing with many other popular brands of soft drinks in bottles & cans, its popularity and flavor continue to make it one of the top-selling items in the inventory of 50 some beverages produced by Dr Pepper Snapple Group. It's come a long way and been owned by many companies throughout its 92 year history, but Lodi, California, a wine destination, is where it was born back in 1919.
While a Lodi entrepreneur purchased the recipe from a pharmacist in Arizona, he made this tasty, new root beer famous when veterans returned from World War I, only to discover that liquor had been banned! Roy Allen set up a stand and sold his foamy brew served in ice cold mugs at a parade for the war heroes. The beverage cost a nickel. Cleverly building a saloon that reminded customers of a beer hall, the delicious, sweet root beer was served and its popularity grew rapidly.
A&W came from the "A" in Roy Allen's last name, combined with the "W" in his partner, Frank Wright's name. The A&W Root Beer restaurants were considered the first chain restaurants in America. The restaurants are operated separately from the bottled beverages sold in stores, and there's still an A&W restaurant in Lodi. During the 90th birthday of A&W in 2009 the restaurant and city of Lodi held a huge celebration to honor the city as the birthplace of A&W. The city set a record for building the largest largest root beer float in the world, and is proudly looking forward to 2019 when the popular drink celebrates 100 years. While Lodi's inventory of wineries continues to grow to nearly 70 in the region, there's only one A&W Root Beer. Its intoxicating flavor and subtle notes are appreciated by root beer connoisseurs around the globe.