Hires – The First Root Beer, Dying A Slow, Prolonged Death
I know soda isn’t good for you. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and many nutritionists would like to slap a soda tax on sugary beverages.
I try not to drink a lot of soda, but I have a sweet spot in my heart for Hires Root Beer. I love the stuff. It is by far the best root beer ever made and I have tried many of them: IBC, Stewart’s, Mug, A&W, Dr. Brown’s and about a dozen or more other smaller regional brands, and none compare to the unique, smooth taste of Hires. But I have not had a sip of Hires in over six years.
I did not forsake Hires. Instead the brand has slowly been vanishing off the shelves of supermarkets in an ever widening circle over the past 20 years. It is now unavailable in most portions of the United States and Canada.
How did the oldest continually produced soft drink and for many years, most popular root beer in America get to this situation?
The answer lies in the beverage industry and their mistaken belief that a company should support only one line of a given product. Through acquisitions and mergers these big companies gobble up smaller soda competitors, acquiring their brands and either concentrate on expanding them or as is more often the case – eliminating them.
via Killing A Product – The Demise of Hires Root Beer – Stuff Nobody Cares
Soft Drink Interbrand Competition Act Statement on Signing S. 598 Into Law.
July 10, 1980
Public Papers of the Presidents
1980-81: Book II
1980-81: Book II
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I have signed into law S. 598, the “Soft Drink Interbrand Competition Act.” The purpose of this legislation is to “clarify the circumstances under which territorial provisions in licenses to manufacture, distribute, and sell trademarked soft drink products are lawful under the antitrust laws.”
Since 1971, soft drink bottlers have been faced with the uncertainty created by pending legal proceedings challenging the legality of territorial provisions in their franchise agreements. As the report of the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives explains, this legislation is intended simply to eliminate that uncertainty by reaffirming legislatively the rule of reason approach followed by the Supreme Court in Continental T.V. Inc. v. GTE Sylvania, Inc., 433 U.S. 36 (1977). While I have had misgivings about the language of earlier versions of this bill, I believe that the amendments adopted by the House of Representatives, and agreed to by the Senate, have met the objective of eliminating that uncertainty. The House report emphasizes that the act “does not grant antitrust immunities.” Under these circumstances, I do not believe that the bill establishes a special antitrust exemption or permits otherwise illegal restrictions on competition.
Note: As enacted, S. 598 is Public Law 96308, approved July 9.
Citation: Jimmy Carter: “Soft Drink Interbrand Competition Act Statement on Signing S. 598 Into Law. ,” July 10, 1980. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=44741.
Because of the Soft Drink Interbrand Competition Act of July 10, 1980, Dr. Peppers/Snapple can own A&W and Hires, along with several other sodas. But they have to sell the sodas in different areas so they don’t compete. This put Hires online. You rarely can buy Hires in a store. Apparently, The Root Beer Store has gotten around this probably by buying Hires online as well. Dr. Peppers/Snapple has shoved Hires aside with A&W and placed Hires in the “backwater” of sodas.
I complained to my state Senator about the demise of Hires and I got a copy of this soda law.
Hires is a rare root beer and it can be bought online.