The history of brewing root beer goes a lot further back than the start of Cool Mountain. In fact, root beer comes from the family of small beers. Back in Colonial times these beers (alcoholic or not) were created using bark, roots and herbs. The original recipe to brew root beer contained spices and ingredients like birch bark, spicewood, wild cherry bark, dog grass, allspice, ginger, coriander, juniper, hops, burdock root and a lot more. Most of the original ingredients used to create the original root beer are still used today, but recipes certainly vary.
The Man Behind it All – Charles Hires
Eventually someone had to come up with the idea to brew root beer and sell those root beer barrels in the commercial market. That man was Charles Hires. This pharmacist from Philadelphia had originally found an old herbal tea recipe on his honeymoon and soon started to sell that very recipe upon his return. From there Hires began working on a recipe that had a combination of over 25 herbs, roots and berries to create the first carbonated soda drink ever: root beer.
Hires showcased his homemade soda pop at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial exhibition and it was an instant hit – still is today.
The Hires family eventually moved from the traditional root beer barrels into the bottling and in 1893 the first bottled root beer was distributed.
Though Hires was the first to market and sell root beer, most historians believe the history of brewing root beer goes back a lot further than that. Today there are hundreds of different brands of root beer, but without one set recipe, those who brew root beer have the chance to showcase a different twist, a family tradition and a unique flavor unlike any other.
At Cool Mountain, we use a secret draft style recipe that dates back over 100 years and was used during the days of Prohibition when root beer barrels replaced liquor barrels. We pride ourselves on being part of the history of root beer and we hope those who buy root beer from us are equally excited to take part in it too.
Thank you Mr. Hires and thank you to all the Cool Mountain fans!