Saturday, November 5, 2011

History of Barq’s root beer

In 1898 Edward Charles Edmond Barq opened Biloxi Artesian Bottling Works and next two years he produced the product later known as Barq’s Root Beer. It remained a family owned business based in Biloxi, Mississippi, until the company was purchased by the Coca-Cola Company.

By 1902, the name of the company had been changed to Barq’s Bottling Works.

The drinks popularity was unstoppable. By 1937, the company had 62 bottling plants in 22 states mainly in the South. The numbers peaked in 1950 at about 200, but by that time the "root beer" had been forced to undergo changes.

The first came in 1938 when the federal government banned caffeine in root beer. Barq simply changed the name of his drink to Barq's Sr. and then set about developing a caffeine free root beer.

When the government reversed it caffeine ban in 1960, Barq's Sr. disappeared, and the original recipe once again appeared, as root beer. This created some confusion about what to call the drink. Many had inadvertently called it Barq's Root Beer, but it wouldn't take long for the old man to gracefully straighten one out by saying "Barq's son. Just Barq's".

In 1976, John Koerner and John Oudt bought the company from the Barq family and moved its headquarters to New Orleans, and they started to market it nationally. To that time Barq’s was bottled in over 400 plant.

In 1995, Barq’s was purchased by the Coca-Cola Company, which expanded the line to include diet root beer. French Vanilla Crème and Red Crème Soda, and Barq Root Beer Floatz.

Coca-Cola did not have a significant root beer brand of its own and almost 90% of Barq’s sales already took place through Coca-Cola bottlers. It is part of Coca-Cola Company strategy of diversification and Barq then competes directly with A&W Root Beer for market leadership.
History of Barq’s root beer 

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