Hires Root Beer is the second oldest continuously made soft drink in the United States after Vernors Ginger Ale, which first appeared in 1866. Hires got it start a decade later in 1876.
I am sure their was a lot of stuff going on in the United States during the Civil war. But it seems an odd time to introduce a Ginger Ale. While people are battling to hold the country together, Vernor is up in Detroit mixing ginger into fizzy water. So good on Charles Elmer Hires for waiting till 1876 and Philadelphia’s Centennial Exposition to introduce the world to his delicious Root Beer.
Hires has been very successful since 1876, making it through prohibition and various temperance movements, despite having beer in its name. It would be sold in the 1960s and then begins switching owners many times over the next 5 years. Hires is currently owned by Keurig Dr Pepper.
As a I mentioned on the site before, I am a Ramblin’ Root Beer fan. That said, I was not a picky drinker of sugary drinks. If I couldn’t get my favorite sugary beverage, almost any alternative would do in a pinch.
Hires was probably my mom’s 2nd favorite root beer, after Stewart’s. So it was a constant presence in out our fridge. She kept a bottle in the fridge that was not to be touched by anyone.
Naturally, we all took small drink from that sacred 2-liter until it was very obviously being drunk. At that point she would go through her mad mom routine. We would all act contrite and the process would repeat itself the next month. This was the price you pay when you raise a family of sugar addicts.
Hires was very well-advertised. One of my favorite of their vintage ads, is a remake of the classic, “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding, but with Root Beer lyrics. Enjoy!