Sipping Through Time: A Journey into the History of Root Beer

food near me

In the effervescent world of beverages, few concoctions rival the distinct charm and frothy allure of root beer. But did you also know it has quite a history that traces back centuries? Join us this month as we uncover the origins and inspirations of one of our favorite beverages, and stick around for some fun facts!

pizza shop near me


The Early Roots

Root beer’s roots can be traced back to indigenous peoples. This group brewed beverages using various roots, herbs, and barks for medicinal and ceremonial purposes. Native American tribes such as the Algonquians and the Iroquois created versions of root-based drinks, laying the foundation for what would later become root beer.

Colonial Concoctions

As European settlers arrived, they were inspired by the indigenous brewing practices. So much so, that they began incorporating local roots, herbs, and barks into brewing traditions. This fusion of cultural influences gave rise to a variety of homemade root beers featuring ingredients like sassafras, sarsaparilla, wintergreen, and birch. These early concoctions often fermented and mildly alcoholic, served as both refreshments and remedies for various ailments. 

The Birth of Commercial Root Beer

The 19th century witnessed the commercialization of root beer as enterprising individuals sought to mass-produce and distribute this effervescent elixir. One notable figure in root beer history is Charles Elmer Hires, a pharmacist who is credited with introducing the first commercially successful root beer at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. Hires’ root beer was initially sold as a concentrate to be mixed with water and carbonated at home.


food near me


Prohibition and the Rise of Non-Alcoholic Root Beer

 During Prohibition (1920-1933), the production and sale of alcoholic beverages were banned in the United States. This period saw a surge in the popularity of non-alcoholic beverages, including root beer. The demand for a family-friendly alternative to traditional beer paved the way for root beer. 


Fun Facts

  • Sassafras, a key ingredient in early root beers, was later banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the 1960s due to its potential carcinogenic properties. Today, root beer is typically made with artificial sassafras flavor or safrole-free sassafras extracts.
  • Just like the craft beer movement, there’s a growing interest in craft root beer. Small breweries and artisanal producers experiment with unique ingredients to create handcrafted, premium root beer flavors.
  • August 6th is National Root Beer Float Day, encouraging people to enjoy this delightful combo!


sopranos pizza

Get the Best Food at Soprano’s Pizza!

Whether you’re searching for some refreshing root beer or delicious food for lunch or dinner, rest assured that Soprano’s can settle your cravings. To discover all of our menu options, we encourage you to check out our online menu or dine in with us today!


Follow us on Facebook for the latest news or call (603) 880-0443 to place an order for takeout today!