Top 10 Best Root Beer Brands

Top 10 Best Root Beer Brands

Root Beer is an American “non-alcoholic beer” that is suitable for children. Instead of hops and malt, sassafras roots are used. It is available in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions. However, even when fermented, the alcohol content is no more than 0.5%. Therefore, the beverage is considered harmless and more akin to kvass.

Root beer tastes like a sweet, herbal-flavored soda. Some people compare it to marshmallow root infusion. The natural ingredients in the beer are healthier than the compositions of most non-alcoholic brands. The fizzy drink is served with ice cream, juices, and alcohol, creating whimsical cocktails. Many users appreciate the large foamy head, characteristic of root beer.

Root beer ingredients

The beverage contains primary and secondary components. The primary components are the same for all manufacturers, and they make the drink a root beer. They include:

  • Sassafras tree root. All parts of the plant contain a very fragrant essential oil, which is used in cooking and medicine. Locals make aromatic teas and spices and use them as an ingredient in baking. The oil is beneficial in treating colds and as a disinfectant and repellent.
  • Smilax vine or Sarsaparilla. The plant is similar to blackberries. The young parts are juicy with a slight tartness and are often used as food and seasoning. The root is considered medicinal.

Sassafras root actively releases safrole, a substance that repels pests from the plant. In the 1960s, reports emerged about the potential carcinogenicity of the compound and its use in the manufacture of ecstasy. As a result, essential oil was banned. Manufacturers using it switched to safrole-free extract and a flavoring agent that imparts the taste of natural root.

In the non-alcoholic version, the plant extract is combined with carbonation. Hop-flavored root beer is prepared by fermenting the extract, sugar, and yeast.

Each manufacturer tries to make their root beer stand out by adding various additional ingredients. The most common are citrus peels, licorice, baking spices, and cherry bark. Many manufacturers also include a variety of herbs, such as licorice root, ginger, and wintergreen.

The natural components, such as sarsaparilla, herbs, and spices, make the beer beneficial compared to carbonated and flavored options.

A brief history

Root Beer history

The foundation for creating root beer was medicinal decoctions prepared by local Native Americans. Following their tradition, pharmacists Hires developed a special herbal tea. He sold it as a mixture of herbs that the buyer mixed with yeast and sugar themselves. However, the invention was not very popular.

A close friend of the pharmacist advised selling the composition as a soda. By mixing more than 20 plant extracts with soda water, Hires created something like a non-alcoholic beer that was very well received by customers. Initially, the drink was sold on tap, and after 20 years, in bottles. By the end of the 19th century, other manufacturers actively began creating various types of root beer.

Root beer’s closest relative is small beer, which contains no more than 2.8% alcohol. Up until the 20th century, due to the lack of sewage systems in most European cities, it was dangerous to drink regular water. Therefore, servants, workers, and children were given table beer – a very light (up to 1% alcohol) fermented beverage that quenched thirst. In some cases, it was not filtered, and the dense mixture was considered fortifying for weakened children and sick adults.

Best root beer brands

Below are ten well-known, best-selling beer brands. Their composition and history of creation are discussed.

Barq’s Root Beer

Barq's Root Beer Logo

The brand appeared on the wave of popularity of root beer, which began its active spread 22 years before the creation of BARQ’S. The founder named the product after his surname, although a business partner also participated in creating the recipe.

The injustice was compensated by dividing the business. As a result, there were two BARQ’S in America. One was in Louisiana, managed by Jesse Robinson, and the other belonged to the founder’s family. However, problems did not arise until Barq’s grandchildren sold the business. The new owners had long legal disputes over the brand, in which Robinson’s descendants emerged victorious.

The family did not enjoy sole ownership for long, and in 2000, the right to production passed to The Coca-Cola Company.

The original BARQ’S was made from sarsaparilla. The first distinctive feature of the brand was the presence of caffeine. The focus was on invigorating properties, which were enhanced by the numerous prickly bubbles and reduced sweetness.

The modern drink can no longer be called as healthy. It is produced based on natural flavorings that resemble the plant. Pleasant sweetness is achieved with corn syrup. Citric acid adds tartness. Customers are offered original and diet versions. The latter does not contain caffeine.

The white inscription on the logo, with a large, towering letter shadow, demonstrates the rich history and change in the drink’s recipe over the years.

Barq's Root Beer


IBC Logo

IBC is a now-defunct association of five brewing companies. Root beer is the only thing left after all the syndicate companies went under one by one. The brand, founded in 1919, survived multiple resales until it became part of Keurig Dr. Pepper.

The main secret was the demand for non-alcoholic beverages during Prohibition. The lineup of 11 flavors is proof of this: strawberries, berries, cherry, and peach with added cream or cream soda.

The company produces regular and diet root beer. The original composition has been changed in favor of cane sugar instead of corn syrup, which is considered healthier. Quillaia extract is added as a foaming agent.

The entire logo of the beer is steeped in its historical past and combines an image of a crown and a coat of arms with memorable dates.



Mug Logo

The drink has two names. The first it received was when it was created in 1940. The company that introduced it to production immortalized itself in the name: Belfast. The second, well-known name today is a consequence of the change of ownership. However, the rights to root beer did not end up with either company. The new Beverage firm closely cooperated with Pepi-Co, which eventually took over the drink (1986).

It was Pepsi that made the symbol of the beer, a dog with a mug in its paws.

In addition to the regular and diet versions of MUG, there is cream soda. Among the unusual ingredients are Quillaia, ascorbic acid, which adds tartness, and yucca.

The latter is a decorative shrub with a massive root that resembles a large, long potato. The plant contains many beneficial components, including the main complex of vitamins and antioxidants. Fiber promotes body cleansing, and saponins have the property of forming foam. Therefore, MUG ROOT BEER with yucca is delicious and healthy.



A&W Logo

The A & W company, founded by partners Allen and Wright, began selling root beer in their restaurants in 1922. Before that, Allen had been distributing the drink among passing drivers for three years. Hired boys carried root beer on trays, offering to quench their thirst for 5 cents.

With Wright’s financial support, the business grew. Two years later, Allen bought out his partner’s share and began expanding the restaurants and beer through franchises. By 1960, there were 2,000 sales points.

The company’s success is associated with covering a wide range of consumers due to its diverse composition; this a beer without sodium and caffeine for hypertensive patients, without sugar for people with diabetes and those losing weight, etc.

Now, three companies have the right to release the drink. Worldwide it’s Keurig Dr. Pepper, and in Canada, A & W and Coca-Cola.

There is a difference not only in the owners but also in the recipes. In Canadian root beer, there is almost no sugar or syrup. Instead, they use natural herbs such as sassafras, licorice, anise, and birch, making them taste more like a mixture.

In the US, under this brand, they also produce low-calorie root beer TEN and cream soda. The oval logo demonstrates the balanced taste.


Bundaberg Root Beer

Bundaberg Root Beer Logo

The homeland of the drink is Australia. The BUNDABERG company is a family production that creates non-alcoholic and low-alcohol brands according to unique inherited recipes. The value of beneficial concentrates is shown in the logo, with sun rays illuminating the company’s barrels.

The root beer composition is entirely natural and genuinely different from most known ones. It contains sassafras, as in the first recipes, flavored with licorice, vanilla, and ginger. Molasses provide additional sweetness. All components are processed for three days to maximize the extraction of active substances. The result is a rich, dark, sweet, concentrated root beer.

The company’s products are supplied to 30 countries.

Bundaberg Root Beer


Sprecher Logo

The brewery from Wisconsin is the brainchild of a doctor of brewing with the last name SPRECHER. He opened the factory, assembled the necessary equipment, started the work, and then sold the company to a group of local investors who have been managing it ever since.

The brewery’s collection includes 13 types of beer and lager and more than 20 carbonated beverages. Their recipes have not changed since their creation. The shield with the heraldic animal on the logo emphasizes the preservation of traditions and a solid approach to work.

One of the main secrets of preparing the main type of root beer for this brand is the inclusion of natural honey in the composition. Another feature is that all components are boiled in a kettle over an open flame. The flame promotes caramelization processes and increases the saturation of the beverage.

In addition to the classic local composition, there is root beer with caffeine and maple syrup for sale.


Sioux City

Sioux City Logo

The lineup belongs to the Beverages company and has been in production since 1987. It is bottled in dark glass bottles and is positioned as a saloon drink. Root beer is consumed by tough local sheriffs when they rest. Advertising gives the drink energy of strength, attracting a male audience. The daring cowboy at the entrance to the store in the logo complements the brand’s image.

The main component of the beer is sassafras. According to the company, the plant is an ancient component from which the creation of all modern root beers began. The plant is complemented by caramel syrup.

Sioux City

Virgil’s Root beer

Virgil's Root beer Logo

A root beer brand created by the Crowley family 100 years ago. Edward Crowley decided to revive the forgotten recipe in 1994. For his creation, the master chose an antique beer-style font.

The rich natural composition speaks of the product’s quality. It is a mixture of herbal infusions, aromatic spices of anise, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and oils: balsamic, fragrant pepper, and cassia. All components are of the highest quality and are sourced from abroad. Cane sugar serves as a sweetener. The diet version contains a sugar substitute made from stevia and erythritol. The company’s beverages have repeatedly been awarded as an “Outstanding Beverage.”

Virgil's Root beer

WBC Chicago Style Root Beer

WBC Chicago Style Root Beer Logo

In fact, beer is better known as a beverage in the Chicago style. The abbreviation WBC stands for Wit Beverage Company and is the name of the producing company.

The creamy-vanilla root beer comes with triple carbonation, making it more prickly. The absence of cloying sweetness and the sharpness of sensations express the creators’ idea of the city. There are no molasses and syrups in the drink. A slight sweetness is given by cane sugar.

The recipe was created during the Prohibition era. Water for the drink is obtained from Lake Michigan, on which the city stands. And on the logo – stars from the Chicago flag.

WBC Chicago Style Root Beer


Saranac Logo

The first batches of the drink appeared in 1888, making it the oldest root beer among those currently sold. The Matt Brewing Company is the second oldest brewery in the USA. The red logo inscription supports the idea of premium quality, as the soda was originally handmade. However, since its creation, the recipe has undergone significant changes. There are no more natural components in the composition of the drink. The taste of vanilla and licorice is created by flavorings. The sweetener is the less beneficial corn syrup.