JFK+50: Volume 6, No. 1951HIRES FIRST TO BREW ROOT BEER COMMERCIALLY 150 YEARS AGO
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (JFK+50) One hundred and fifty years ago today, May 16, 1866, Philadelphia pharmacist Charles Elmer Hires* became the first person to brew root beer commercially here in the City of Brotherly Love.
Mr. Hires was introduced to the drink while on honeymoon in New York City when he was served "root tea" at his hotel. He had planned to name his mixture "root tea" but decided "root beer" would be more appealing to the working class.
Mr. Hires, according to www.cooksinfo.com/, is not credited with inventing the drink because "everyone had a home recipe for it."
Hires presented his "root beer" at the 1876 Philadelphia Exposition calling it the greatest health giving beverage in the world. He was hopeful that root beer would provide an alternative to alcoholic beverages. Hires also labeled it as "the temperance drink."
In the company's 1891 advertisement, Hires claimed that his was "the only genuine Root Beer preparation for making this delightful beverage" and warned consumers not to be deceived by other manufacturers. The ad read...
"ASK FOR HIRES AND SEE YOU GET THE GENUINE ARTICLE"
*Charles Elmer Hires (1851-1937), born in Roadstown, NJ, worked in a drugstore as a boy & at the age of 16, after saving $400, opened his own at Sixth & Spruce Streets in Philadelphia. He marketed the mixture in boxes which required soda pop proprietors to add water, sugar & yeast.
In 1872, Hires made the product available as a liquid extract.
"Charles E. Hires," www.cooksinfo.com/