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Barq's Root Beer
Barq's Root Beer Logo.svg
TypeRoot beer
ManufacturerThe Coca-Cola Company
Country of originUSA
Introduced1898; 123 years ago (1898)
  • Diet Root Beer
  • Red Crème Soda
  • Diet Red Crème Soda
  • French Vanilla Crème Soda
  • Birch Beer[1]
  • Diet French Vanilla Crème Soda
  • Floatz (Discontinued)
  • Peach (Discontinued)
Related productsA&W Root Beer, Mug Root Beer, Dad's Root Beer, Sarsi Edit this on Wikidata

Barq's /ˈbɑːrks/ is an American soft drink. Its brand of root beer is notable for having caffeine.[2] Barq's, created by Edward Barq and bottled since the beginning of the 20th century, is owned by the Barq family but bottled by the Coca-Cola Company. It was known as Barq's Famous Olde Tyme Root Beer until 2012.[3]

Barq's products[edit]

Nutrition facts
Serving size 12 fl oz (355 ml)
Servings per container 1
Amount per serving
Calories 160[4] Calories from fat 0
% Daily value*
Total fat 0 g 0%
   Saturated fat 0 g 0%
   Trans fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 70 mg 3%
Potassium 0 mg 0%
Total carbohydrate 45 g 15%
   Dietary fiber 0 g 0%
   Sugars 45 g
Protein 0 g
Vitamin A 0%      Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0%      Iron 0%
*Percent daily values are based on a 2,000‑calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  • Barq's Root Beer
  • Diet Barq's Root Beer - contains no caffeine. Available in Root Beer and Vanilla Cream.
  • Barq's Red Crème Soda[5] (Barq's Yellow Creme Soda was also produced until the early 1990s).
  • Diet Barq's Red Crème Soda
  • Barq's French Vanilla Crème Soda
  • Barq's Spiced Cherry[6] (Canada)
  • Discontinued: Diet Crème Soda Barq's French Vanilla
  • Discontinued: Barq's Floatz, which is designed to taste like a root beer float.[7] J & J Snack Foods Corporation once licensed the brand name for Barq's Floatz ice cream squeeze tubes.


Historical Marker at Edward Barq's Pop Factory, Biloxi, Mississippi, USA

The Barq's Brothers Bottling Company was founded in 1890 in the French Quarter of New Orleans, by Edward Charles Edmond Barq and his older brother, Gaston. The Barq Brothers bottled carbonated water and various soft drinks of their own creation. Early on, their most popular creation was an orange-flavored soda called Orangine.

Edward Barq moved to Biloxi, Mississippi in 1897 with his new wife. The following year he opened the Biloxi Artesian Bottling Works. Eighteen ninety-eight is often given as the debut year for what was later to be known as "Barq's root beer," but some sources say this particular product was not produced until some two years later.[8]

It was on the Mississippi coast that Barq met and employed a young boy, Jesse Robinson. Robinson was mentored by Barq and later moved to New Orleans to find his fortune. In 1934 Edward Barq, Sr. and Robinson signed a contractual agreement on Barq's product rights. The agreement was unique from other franchises in many aspects. For one thing, Robinson was allowed to make his own concentrate. The two men remained close their entire lives, working on flavors and production challenges. A distinctive difference between the Biloxi-based root beer and the Louisiana's was that the Louisiana bottle was printed in red (versus Biloxi's blue). This was to distinguish ownership of bottles as blue labeled ones were returned to Mississippi and vice versa. There were also regional taste differences between the various Barq's bottlers. While there may have been minor formula differences, water generally defined these differences.

For many decades, Barq's was not marketed as a "root beer". This was in part a desire to avoid legal conflict with the Hires Root Beer company, which was attempting to claim a trademark on the term "root beer". It was also due to differences from other root beers at the time. The formulation was sarsaparilla-based, contained less sugar, had a higher carbonation, and less of a foamy head than other brands.[9]

The traditional slogan was the simple affirmation "Drink Barq's. It's good" which first appeared on the classic diamond-necked bottle, patented in 1935 by Ed Barq.[10]

In 1976, the Biloxi Barq's Company was purchased from the third generation of Barq family members by John Oudt and John Koerner. An aggressive television campaign was developed based on the "Barq's Got Sparks" theme. Their plans to market the brand nationally were complicated by the existence of the Louisiana-based Barq's companies which were owned and operated by Robinson's heirs.

There were extended legal conflicts over the rights and ownership of the trademark Barq's, Barq's Sr. and Barq's Root Beer. The legal battle went all the way to the United States Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, which ruled in favor of the Robinson heirs. The last family-held Louisiana Barq's was sold by Robinson's heirs to Coca-Cola in 2000.

In 1990, Barq's partnered with the Pick N Save grocery store in Dekalb, Illinois to create the World's Largest Root Beer Float. It was mixed in an above ground swimming pool in the parking lot and consisted of 1,500 gallons of Barq's root beer and 1,000 gallons of vanilla ice cream.

Since 1995, Barq's has marketed with the slogan "Barq's has bite!"[11] This slogan has been featured in numerous television advertisements since its inception. These ads would typically feature a Barq's salesman (played by Nick Swardson) going door-to-door to tell people, "Barq's has bite" at which point the subjects would take a sip and have an energetic reaction.[12]

Regular Barq's has 22.5 mg of caffeine per 12 ounce serving (similar to green tea), while Diet Barq's has no caffeine. Barq's also contains sodium benzoate as a flavor protectant, which under the right conditions, is a precursor to the known carcinogen benzene.[13]

The Barq's that is dispensed from Coca-Cola Freestyle machines is caffeine-free.[14][15] This is because the system uses the same concentrated, microdosed ingredient for both Barq's and Diet Barq's; the only difference between the two is the sweetener that is added. It is also common for Barq's that is sold in the state of Utah to be caffeine-free because many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints avoid caffeinated beverages.[16]


  1. ^ "Barq's Birch Beer". Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages.
  2. ^ Caffeine Database | Caffeine and Ingredients in Barqs Rootbeer,'s Report on the Ingredients in Barq's Rootbeer
  3. ^ "Coming Soon: Barq's Root Beer redesign". 2012-02-22. Archived from the original on 2013-12-04. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  4. ^ "The Coca-Cola Company Product Nutrition". Retrieved 2014-10-26.
  5. ^ "Review: Barq's Red Creme Soda". Archived from the original on 2011-08-16. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  6. ^ "Barq's® Spiced Cherry | Coca-Cola Canada". Coke Canada. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  7. ^ Barbara Powell (June 14, 2003). "Coca-Cola launches drink that mimics a root-beer float". The Augusta Chronicle. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  8. ^ "Digging for facts".
  9. ^ "Root Beer: An Exclusively American Soft Drink". Grub Americana. Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  10. ^ Lockhart, Bill (2010). "Bottles on the Border: The History and Bottles of the Soft Drink Industry in El Paso, Texas, 1881-2000" (PDF). Society for Historical Archaeology. The Society for Historical Archaeology. p. 495. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  11. ^ "History of Barq's". Barq's History. Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  12. ^ "Barq's Has Bite!". The Nostalgia Blog. Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  13. ^ "Barq's Root Beer Caffeine Levels". Caffeine Informer. Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  14. ^ Statement by Coca-Cola on Facebook 16 January 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  15. ^ Ingredient list on Barq's Freestyle cartridge
  16. ^ "Utah in a niche market for non-caffeinated Barq's Root Beer". The Daily Universe. Retrieved 2020-07-24.

External links[edit]