It’s been 90 years since A&W made it into the American lexicon. On June of 1919 Californian entrepreneur Roy Allen mixed up his first coveted creamy root beer and sold for one nickel. Roy Allen purchased the recipe from a pharmacist in Arizona and you could say the rest is history. The recipe is highly secretive till today. Roy Allen is credited as creating the the first drive-in when he sold his drinks using “tray-boys” for curb side service to the public. Corporate growth has mushroomed since then but remains mostly a North American anomaly. Just after Smokey the Bear, the A&W Root Bear mascot for the chain has faded into mascot heaven as other companies put them in the back burner of their ads. A&W were not the first root beer makers, that claim belongs to Hires. A&W is the king of the hill of root beers in the world right now.
In 1960, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned sassafras as a potential carcinogen, however, a method was found to remove the oil from sassafras. Only the oil is considered dangerous. Sassafras is one of the main ingredients in root beer.