Sunday, December 5, 2021

Invention of Hires root beer

Hires Root Beer was introduced in 1876, it is considered the longest continuously made soft drink in the United States. Charles E. Hires was born in Elsinboro, Pennsylvania on August 19, 1851.

Charles E. Hires originally developed his root beer as a medicinal syrup or tonic, while still living on his father’s farm in Stow Creek Township.

By 1867, Hires was working at a wholesale drug house while attending night classes at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and the Jefferson Medical College. He then headed to the town of Bridgeton, Pennsylvania, where he helped operate a local pharmacy in partnership with two other men. The venture was short-lived, however, and Hires soon moved back to Philadelphia.

By age twenty-one he had saved enough money to open his own drugstore in Philadelphia. Three years later he sold the drugstore to found what would become a prosperous business wholesaling drugs and botanical products.

At that time, shortly after the Civil War, there was a tremendous demand for any product with medicinal virtues. Some of the medicinal cure claims include tuberculosis, bronchitis, asthma, catarrh, pleurisy, Quincy, whopping cough, and diphtheria.

In 1875, Charles Hires was married in Roadstown, and spent his honeymoon on a New Jersey farm. Their hostess served the prim young couple an herb tea brewed from made up of sixteen wild roots and berries, including, pipsissewa, spikenard, juniper wintergreen, sarsaparilla, and hops that she had foraged. Charles persuaded his hostess to part with her recipe for root tea. Smitten with the drink’s flavor, Hires returned to Philadelphia with its recipe in his pocket.

Charles again mixed the ingredients and blended his own formulation, trying to get a perfect blend. By 1876, Hires had developed his own recipe and was marketing 25-cent packets of powder which each yielded five gallons of root beer.

Hires Root Beer Extract was then bottled in quantities for the first time, and sold in his Philadelphia pharmacy. No longer would housewives be required to gather and process a slew ingredient to prepare a refreshing beverage for their families.

Hires marketed it as a solid concentrate of sixteen wild roots and berries. It claimed to purify the blood and make rosy cheeks.

The extract would be mixed by the buyer with water, sugar, and yeast on his premises. In 1886, Hires began to bottles his concoction and by 1893 it was distributed throughout North America.
Invention of Hires root beer

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