Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s Founding Flavors: What Does A&W Stand For?
One hot summer day in Lodi, Calif., soldiers returning from World War I combat enjoyed a parade in their honor as well as a new thick and creamy drink concoction – root beer – served in a glass mug. The spectators and soldiers enjoyed the root beer beverage so much that the young entrepreneur Roy Allen joined with Frank Wright to open a root beer stand in Stockton, Calif. The duo opened five more stands in nearby Sacramento and then two in Houston, where they first called the root beer “A&W” (Roy Allen & Frank Wright).
A few years later, Allen established America’s first franchised restaurant when he gave individuals the chance to use their own capital to open A&W drive-ins and vending booths, garnering more than 170 A&W franchised outlets by 1933. To ensure the uniform quality of his beverage, Allen exclusively sold A&W Root Beer concentrate to each restaurant franchise operator.
Despite government rationing of sugar during World War II, A&W Root Beer stands remained successful. The increasing popularity of automobiles and post-war GI loans after the war contributed to a tripling of the number of A&W outlets and drive-ins, swelling to more than 2,000 restaurants by 1960. You could only enjoy A&W root beer on tap at an A&W restaurant until 1971, when it was first bottled and sold in grocery stores.
Over the last 40 years, the brand’s innovation has led to A&W Cream Soda, A&W Diet Cream Soda and a reformulation of Diet A&W in the late 1980s, and A&W TEN, a 10-calorie version of the classic root beer, in 2013. Now root beer enthusiasts can enjoy the classic flavors straight from the bottle or in a refreshing root beer float.