Friday, August 12, 2011

Lost Quaker Journals: #5 -- Charles Elmer Hires

From the archives of the Association of Bad Friends. all rights reserved.

April 1, 1876

This new temperance movement is driving me wacky. Women armed with hatchets chopping up saloons. It's just unseemly. It's enough to drive a Quaker to drink. What I wouldn't give for a pint of stout right now. Still, there has got to be some way to make some money on it. That Canadian fellow McLaughlin may be on to something with his "Ginger Ale." What could I come up with? .... Hmmm, how about "Sassafras Ale?" No. I've got it. "Root Beer!" We can have our beer and our temperance, too! -- Journal of Charles E. Hires.

Hysterical Historical note: Modern bottled root beer was developed by Quaker pharmacist Charles Elmer Hires. In 1876 he was selling 25 cent packets of powder which could make five gallons of root beer. In the 1880s he developed a syrup of the concoction for use in soda fountains. That soon followed by kegs of root beer and modern bottling.

Despite it being a non-alcoholic drink, the temperance ladies (primarily) were not amused by it's name. Hire's one-upped them by marketing his root beer as "The Temperance Drink."
I could find no word on what the current stance of the Women's Christian Temperance Union is towards Hire's "Greatest Health-Giving Beverage in the World."


Michael said...



Elaine Emmi said...

so we have a Hires Root Beer in Salt Lake City!

it hasn't changed much from this photo.

OK, now I need a frosty mug of Hires!