Review: Dad’s Root Beer


With Father’s Day right around the corner, I felt it was a great time to put a spotlight on Dad’s Root Beer, an iconic brand that originated here in Chicago back in 1937.

Dad's Root Beer

Dad's Root Beer

Over the years the brand has changed hands many times. Back in 2007, it was sold to Keith Hedinger, who owned the largest non-bottler distributorship of Dad’s Root Beer. He folded the classic root beer into Dad’s Root Beer Company, LLC, along with three other retro brands, Bubble Up, Dr. Wells, and Sun Crest — with operations based out of Jasper, IN.

Keith Hedinger, CEO of Dad's Root Beer Company

Keith Hedinger, CEO of Dad's Root Beer Company

I met Mr. Hedinger last year at the NACS show, and he joked about how the time period around Father’s Day was always one of their most successful regarding sales. Apparently a lot of folks associate Dad’s with this holiday, for obvious reasons.

Retro designs for 75th Anniversary (Source: Dad's Root Beer)

Retro designs for 75th Anniversary (Source: Dad's Root Beer)

2012 marks the 75th anniversary for the brand, and it’s celebrating with nostalgic packaging that covers different eras. The key marketing message that Dad’s maintains these days is one of tradition, heritage, and “old fashioned” quality.

The Dad’s Root Beer line is complimented by a diet version, as well as 4 other flavors: Cream Soda, Red Cream Soda, Orange Cream Soda, and Blue Cream Soda.

Other flavors from Dad's

Other flavors from Dad's

We picked up a 1 liter bottle of Dad’s Root Beer, which they brand as their “Big Daddy Size.” Dad’s tends to fall in the value price range for root beers, thus we found this bottle for $1 at a local Dollar General here in Chicago. That said, it was a bit hard to find, and it took trips to 3 different stores to finally track it down.

The bottle is dark brown plastic, shaped like an oversized version of a traditional bottle, with funnel-shaped neck. Label is primarily blue in color, with the yellow/blue/red “Dad’s Old Fashioned Root Beer” logo prominently displayed above a red band proclaiming it as “America’s Premium Root Beer.” It’s also hard to miss the callout that this beverage is “Caffeine Free,” which is helpful in a marketplace that also sells Barq’s (which is caffeinated).

Opening the cap, you are greeted with a strong, bitter root beer scent. Pouring into a glass, this is dark brown beverage with a nice foamy head. As far as taste, it’s strongly licorice influenced, with the familiar medicinal flavoring of wintergreen as well. It’s not as creamy as some other root beers that seemingly use more vanilla. The flavor is still somewhat smooth, but a bit more on the harsher side. Overall, it’s a decent root beer, but not an extremely memorable one. That said… great in ice cream floats! (Stated from personal experience)

Dad’s Root Beer is not only available in 1 liter sizes, but also 20 oz bottles, 12 oz cans, and 12 oz glass bottles.

Dad’s Root Beer
Water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, natural and artificial flavor, sodium benzoate (as a preservative)

An 8 oz serving contains 120 calories, 20 mg sodium, and 30 g carbs (29 g sugars). Caffeine free

My first Father's Day with my son Wesley

Blatant Photo from Your Editor: It's my 1st Father's Day with my son Wesley

Go old fashioned with this nostalgic root beer taste. It’s classic, affordable, and tasty!

Official Website: DadsRootBeer.com