June 19, 2009, - 10:31 am

FREE A&W Root Beer Float, Today; Happy 90th A & W

By Debbie Schlussel
Especially in this economy, I love to tell readers about free stuff. And, today, A & W is celebrating its 90th birthday. This great American company (it’s slogan is “All American Food”) has been serving our country for 90 years.
In honor of that, today, from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., you can get a FREE A& W Root Beer Float. Mmmmm . . . with warmer temperatures, it hits the spot. Find your nearest A & W Restaurant.
(For those who are not huge fans of root beer (like me), you can always make your own at home with Vernor’s Ginger Ale, like my grandma used to make. Yum.)

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Also in honor of A & W’s 90th, on Sunday, Father’s Day, A&W is selling a Papa Burger for 90 cents, so you can treat yourself and Dad on the cheap. (I keep kosher, so I don’t partake in this stuff, but that doesn’t mean you can’t.)
I love A & W, even though I don’t eat there (again, not kosher). The brand is one of the few to survive for nearly a century in contemporary America. And it provides low cost food for American families. Those are things I celebrate. Roy Allen (the “A” in A & W) was a great American entrepreneur, whose initial remains on a company that grew to titanic size, beyond his wildest dreams. Yes, anything can happen in America.
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Roy Allen: Great American Invented A & W Root Beer in 1919

I hope A&W is around for another 90 years and remains an American company.
A & W Restaurants, Inc. is now owned by Yum Brands, Inc. But here’s a little history on how this great American enterprise got started:

One hot day in June of 1919 in Lodi, California an entrepreneur named Roy Allen mixed up a batch of creamy root beer and sold the first frosty mug of this delightful beverage for one nickel. Now, more than seventy years later, A&W Root Beer is the world’s number one selling root beer and is still mixed fresh daily and sold at hundreds of A&W restaurants.
Allen purchased the formula for his root beer from a pharmacist in Arizona. To this day, the unique blend of herbs, spices, barks and berries remains a proprietary secret.
With the success of his first root beer stand in Lodi, Allen soon opened a second stand in nearby Sacramento. It was there that what is thought to be the country’s first “drive-in” featuring “tray-boys” for curb side service, opened up.

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First A&W Outlet

In 1922 Allen took on a partner, Frank Wright, an employee from his original Lodi location. The two partners combined their initials – “A” for Allen and “W” for Wright and formally named the beverage, A&W Root Beer. Three units were opened in Sacramento, then on to other northern and central California locations and to the states of Texas and Utah.

By 1933 A & W already had 170 franchises across America.
Read more at the A & W site.

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4 Responses

Thanks for the site. I was born in “The Valley”, Central Valley area of California. I didn’t even know A&W was originally from Lodi. I remember the A&W as a kid with my brother and sister walking up and getting those root beer floats and mama and papa burgers.

californiascreaming on June 19, 2009 at 11:47 am

You can make a Vernor’s float? Never would have thought of that. I just had a flashback to my grandmother’s house–Vernor’s by the case and relish/deli trays in the fridge.

cirrus1701 on June 19, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Unforently there isn’t one near me, and the one I know would require walking from the metro subway. Not alot of time to stop by an enjoy a free float on them.
However this weekend, Mc Donald’s is giving away their Mc Cafe products for free. I’m seroius, so after having your root beer float today, you can have a mc cafe tommorrow and sunday!

Squirrel3D on June 19, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Debbie- if you are a true root beer fan,have you tried Virgils? If not, you must…it is true brewed root beer, AND it’s certified kosher (by O-U I think)!
http://www.virgils.com/about.shtml
[D: THANKS. HAVE TRIED IT AND IT’S PRETTY GOOD. AND FYI A & W ROOT BEER–THE KIND YOU BUY IN THE STORE–IS KOSHER AS FAR AS I KNOW. IT’S JUST THAT THEIR RESTAURANT ITEMS, LIKE THE BURGERS, ETC. ARE NOT. DS]

Doda McCheesle on June 19, 2009 at 3:00 pm

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