Charles Elmer Hires was an early promoter of commercially prepared root beer. He was a Quaker pharmacist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who formulated the eponymous Hires Root Beer beverage.
Hires Root Beer
Apparently root beer dates back to Belgium with what is called “small beer”, beer with a 5%-15% of alcohol. Hence,
beer goes back even further to Babylonia. This is a drink made
up of herbs and some alcohol. Root Beer “without” any name had been around in America from the days of the colonies. Even soda today has some alcohol, but it’s % is so small that it isn’t mentioned. Charles Hires wanted to
call it Root Tea, because it is a tea with yeast, which gave root beer its bubbles. But it sold best as called Root Beer.
Root Beer, unless added to a beer, isn’t a beer. It is a tea with herbs and yeast. There at least 30 different ingredients and herbs which can go into root beer.
Hires goes back to 1876 and is the first soda to be commercially sold as a soda, but in a series of bags of ingredients. You had to make your own root beer until the late 188o’s. In the late 1880’s Hires began to bottle his own root beer. By that time Coke was being bottled in Atlanta. Barq’s and IBC was also being made around that time, but not as successfully at Hires.
Hires Root Beer is made under the supervision of the Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group. This group also owns A&W, which the group has developed to surpass Hires as the world’s most famous root beer.
Hires Root Beer began in Philadelphia. It was bought out by Cadbury candy and Cadbury was bought out by Dr. Pepper, which unified with Snapple.
Hires is the closest to the original as you can get. It is
very syrupy and has a solid taste. It doesnt have as much soda as Barq’s or Dr. Pepper. I buy at least one can of Hires a month. I use this as a measure to compare with the new root beers today. I have to buy it online. But it
is worth it.