Review: A&W Float

So, it would seem like a logical idea. Take the flavor experience of a root beer float and bottle it. That’s what A&W Float soda attempts to pull off. It’s an interesting innovation idea… and one that comes close, but misses.

A&W Float

A&W Float comes in a contoured glass bottle, decorated with an attractive label wrap design (similar to how Coke labeled Coca-Cola BlāK), complete with a bottle cap that can be twisted off without an opener. The bottle proclaims “a creamy blend of rich A&W and ice cream flavor.” As this is branded as an A&W drink, you know that it comes from Cadbury Schweppes. They argue that it’s “rich, creamy, and so delicious you won’t believe it comes in a bottle!”

Of interest is the ingredient breakdown, which actually doesn’t contain any high fructose corn syrup. In fact, it starts off with filtered carbonated water, sugar, and skim milk. Not a bad way to go. You don’t need to refrigerate this drink when you first buy it, however it should be kept in there after opening (and it’s recommended to serve it chilled). Cadbury Schweppes claims that it has a 6 month shelf life. The rest of the ingredient list includes 2% or less of each of the following: cream, pectin, natural and artificial flavors, phosphoric acid, caramel color, propylene glycol alginate, acacia gum, and nitrous oxide (creates foam). It’s gluten-free and considered Kosher.

A&W Float

Cadbury Schweppes notes on the official website for this drink that “the Floats concept was one of the highest scoring product ideas from our Discovery Innovation Group. This group is challenged to find and create new ideas across our brand portfolio.”

It should be noted that while this is a grand product idea, it’s definitely not one to try if you are on a diet. A single 11.5 oz. bottle contains 260 calories, 20 mg. of sodium, and 63 g. of sugars, but is caffeine-free. It packs quite a bunch of calories for a small serving.

Upon opening a bottle of A&W Float you do note a familiar root beer scent, hinted with quite a bit of caramel overtone. The drink itself looks like coffee that has been heavily diluted with a lot of cream and sugar; a cloudy, light brownish tone. Basically, it looks like a root beer float when all the ice cream has melted.

As for the taste, well, I had high hopes for this beverage… but they were let down. Yes, there’s an inkling of root beer float experience, but it totally tastes fake. There’s almost too much caramel flavor and lot of syrupy-ness. The aftertaste just sort of lingers on the tongue in not a pleasant way. The “fake float” elements pretty much drown the positive flavor associated with A&W Root Beer, which makes for a disappointing experience for either a root beer or a cream soda.

It’s not a horrible drink, but it’s also not a great one. It just tastes so artificial that you shouldn’t even bother. Great idea, horrible execution.