These were the best! 🙌
Posted by Wide Open Eats on Wednesday, March 25, 2020
There's really nothing better than sipping on a crisp root beer on a hot day, or any day for that matter. Even better, add in a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a creamy root beer float.
I'm sure the popular root beer brand, A&W comes to mind when you think of this delicious drink. And there's a good reason why. A&W root beer has a long history. This fast food restaurant also happens to be one of the oldest in the United States. Maybe you have memories of stopping by an A&W root beer stand as a kid or maybe it's your first time visiting one of the A&W restaurants in your town today. Either way, an A&W root beer stand is something special.
It all started way back in June of 1919 when a man named Roy W. Allen opened his first root beer stand in Lodi, California. It was a hot day and there was a lot to celebrate. On opening day there was a celebration and parade going on in the town for the homecoming of World War I heroes. So patriotic!
Fast forward to 1922 when Allen partnered with a man named, Frank Wright. They combined their initials and created what we all know today, "A&W" and became one of the first franchised restaurant chains. A&W also claims to have opened up the first drive-in in Sacramento in 1923. The family operation had begun!
They began selling franchises to others and soon enough, there were over 400 A&W restaurants around, some of the root beer stands were even starting to sell food to go along with the root beer. By 1956, A&W restaurant opened its first location in Canada and by the 1960s, there were over 2,000 root beer stands. Pretty impressive, right?
In 1963, A&W was the first fast food restaurant chain to invent the Original Bacon Cheeseburger (sorry, McDonald's Quarter Pounder). Over the years, the menu has expanded and they now serve delicious things like hot dogs, cheese coney dogs, cheddar cheese curds, chicken sandwiches, and of course, their famous floats. And by 1971, A&W root beer bottles and cans were showing up on shelves in grocery stores so everyone could enjoy the refills at home.
A&W root beer stands continue to be a very popular stop when it comes to fast food restaurants, California being home to the most locations. There are around 1,000 locations worldwide with approximately 600 stands in the United States, but they're not stopping there! New restaurants are always popping up worldwide.
So, when you think of root beer and hopefully some good memories at one of the stands, you think of A&W and their interesting history.