The Origin Of Root Beer

As the years’ pass, the original intention for many items we use today is lost in history.  One such item, created for one original purpose, has had that purpose change through the centuries–that of root beer.  You either love root beer, or you hate it—there doesn’t seem to be any in-between for most.

And if you are one of those individuals that have a hankering for a carbonated soft drink will be happy to learn that root beer is the lesser of the evils out there.  Compared to other soft drinks, root beer has a comparatively low amount of acidity, which means it is a lot less harmful to our teeth.

Although the typical root beer float pops to mind when someone says root beer, but believe it or not, that was not its original intent.  Generations back, root beer was a staple used for several reasons, the least of which was to satisfy a sweet tooth.

So, you are probably wondering to yourself—just what was root beer’s original purpose?

Image: Spice Jungle

The hint of its original historical purpose lies in the fact that it is easy on the pearly whites.  According to the official Dr. Pepper Museum, the root beer of today got its start in pharmacies sold as a medical syrup “cure-all.”

The first root beer recipe can be traced all the way back to its inventor, a pharmacist known by the name of Charles Elmer Hires.  Hires invented a dry recipe that required mixing with water, sugar, and yeast—the use of yeast for the fermentation process is that which creates the fizziness.

In 1876 a liquid version of the concoction was created and received much success and adoration. By 1893, the Hires family became the official family to bottle root beer as we know it.