Behind the Wine: A&W Root Beer®!

carhop There is so much more magic than the wine in your glass when it comes to Lodi. Did you know that A&W Root Beer® was humbly founded right here, in Lodi, California? While A&W® is now an international brand name, it is pretty exciting to say that it all began in a small town in Northern California. Not only that, but A&W Restaurant® was America’s first-ever franchised restaurant chain.     Roy Allen, a traveling businessman, founded A&W Root Beer® in 1919. During his roytravels, Allen bought the recipe, along with various ingredients from a pharmacist in Arizona. Being the entrepreneur that he was, he decided to share it. He settled in Lodi and it was on a summer day, June 4, 1919, when he shared his creation for the first time with the citizens of Lodi. What began as his first stand on 13 W. Pine Street in Lodi, CA, has turned into a successful global franchise. When you visit, we encourage you to stop by Pine Street and view the plaque on the sidewalk, in front of the Beauty & the Beast Pet Salon. It is at that exact location, 95 years ago, where Allen welcomed home local World War I heroes with his creamy, tasty beverage.   barrelRefreshing and perfect on a summer’s day, Allen’s root beer was a hit, as the parade of veterans proudly strolled through the downtown streets. He partnered with Frank Right, coining his beverage A (Allen) & W (Wright). Soon after, the partners opened up more stands in Sacramento and Stockton, where they sold the beverage in ice-cold mugs for just 5 cents.  Eventually, Allen would buy out Wright’s shares, creating a franchise business model for the A&W Restaurant®. Each franchise would have to purchase the A&W Root Beer® formula directly from Allen to maintain consistency within the company. How do they make it so yummy, every time? Even now, that remains a proprietary secret. However, we are quite sure that A&W Root Beer® tastes the best when enjoyed right here in Lodi.   awtoday Today, just blocks away from the original location of Allen’s first root beer cart, sits the Lodi A&W Restaurant®, still serving “drive-in” style meals and of course, root beer. Visit Lodi’s famous A&W Restaurant® where you can see all of the memorabilia of the beverage and restaurant history, get your root beer mug, or jug, filled from the tap, and indulge in a delicious root beer float.   Owner of Lodi’s A&W Restaurant®, Peter Knight, shared that they have the largest memorabilia collection in the entire world. Special artifacts include plush toys, limited edition mugs and glasses, vintage posters, and more. Make sure to plan your trip towards the weekend because on Thursday nights the Lodi A&W Restaurant® hosts a classic car show & cruise event.   rootyWhen you’re in town, don’t forget to stop by our Downtown Visitors Center to see the new A&W® exhibit, courtesy of the Lodi restaurant, and we’ll give you an A&W Root Beer® lollipop to get your travel adventures started.  If you’re heading into town with the kids, we also have a fun “Rooty” the Root Beer Bear® activity pack that is sure to bring giggles and entertainment during your travels. We look forward to your visit.