Top 12 Root Beer Brands

  • By: Max S.
  • Date: September 25, 2022
  • Time to read: 9 min.

Root beer is one of the oldest drinks that are popular today, with its origins dating back to the 18th century. At first, it was developed as a medicinal herbal tea (shocking, right?) to treat lung disease, but the patients liked the taste so much that Charles Hires started selling his powder-based concoction as a concentrate. This is why he is also known as the inventor of root beer. 

He claimed that the mix contained a combination of sixteen herbs and berries. It was around the 1890s that the Charles Hires company started selling root beer as a bottled beverage.

What made root beer into what it is today is its taste—but what is so special about the taste of root beer that this beverage has survived the market as well as the test of time? 

The flavor profile of root beer is in-the-face sweet with a seeking taste of bitterness not long after. A ginger-like zing provides a refreshing “bite,” and the added vanilla gives root beer a smooth mouth feel. Root beer is, at its core, a sweetened carbonated beverage with a confusing but addicting flavor profile. 

The history of root beer allowed it to evolve. Bottling to be sold as a beverage, the addition of carbonation, and the making of a safrole-free sassafras extract when sassafras was banned were all significant changes to the recipe of root beer, and it still flourished in the market. 

Here we will discuss the top root beer brands that still provide us with this delectable drink hundreds of years later.

List of Top Root Beer Brands

assortment of root beer bottles

A plethora of root beer brands has shown up over the years. Starting from Hire’s root beer, hundreds of root beer brands started manufacturing root beer with slight differences. During Prohibition, root beer became more popular, and 1919 Root Beer was introduced, among others. 

Hundreds of root beer brands exist today. The most popular ones which made the cut are: 

  1. Hires Root Beer
  2. Barqs Root Beer 
  3. A&W Root Beer
  4. Bundaberg Australian Root Beer
  5. Mug Root Beer
  6. Dang! Butterscotch Root Beer
  7. Sioux City Sarsaparilla
  8. Hanks Root Beer
  9. Stewart’s Root Beer
  10. WBC Goose Island Root Beer
  11. Virgil’s Root beer
  12. Sprecher Root Beer

Root Beer Brands: Ranked

assortment of root beer bottles

We ranked the top root beer brands based on their taste, brew, packaging, and mouthfeel, and we’re sure that you won’t disagree with our top pick:  

  1. Barq’s

Barq’s Root Beer is the top root beer brand in the US. It has one of the biggest fanbases, an incredibly authentic caramelized taste, and adheres to the aesthetic of cultural root beer. However, what lands Barq’s root beer on the top of the list is the “bite” this beverage delivers. It is crisp, the flavor of sarsparilla is dominant, and it made our tastebuds go wow! 

Barq’s Root Beer is a fan favorite, and rightfully so! There are no extra flavors in Barq’s root beer, which makes it a cult classic and no.1 on this list. 

  1. A&W

A&W Root Beer is undoubtedly among the most famous root beer available on the market. Visit a local grocery store, and the chances are that you’ll spot A&W on the shelves almost instantly. When you think of root beer, the A&W’s iconic beige can is what pops up. 

In addition, A&W is a sweet root beer blend. Made with aged vanilla, it almost feels like it is whipped, creamy, smooth, and tastes incredibly delightful, which is why it earned second place.

Although artificially flavored and industrially produced, A&W root beer has the smoothest taste among its competitors. 

  1. Bundaberg Root Beer 

Popular on the other side of the world, Bundaberg Root Beer is the most traditional root beer of the bunch. Bundaberg crosses all the root beer boxes from its aesthetically traditional brown-tinted bottle to its home-brewed blend. 

The first sip of Bundaberg root beer took us by surprise. It takes a minute to absorb all the goodness, it is bitter but just the right amount, not too sugary, with a heady hint of anise. And the vanilla? Ravishing. The top 3 were made for Bundaberg root beer. 

  1. Hires Root Beer 

This root beer is literally what started it all. For many, this is the ultimate root beer. No sharp taste dominates the Hires root beer flavor; the flavors are mild but enjoyable, with a vanilla cream impression, perfect for a root beer float. 

This root beer is dessert-y goodness. We recommend it because we thoroughly enjoyed its mild yet exotic taste. However, root beer brands after Hires have taken the root beer industry by storm. 

  1. Stewart’s root beer

Stewart’s root beer claims to be the world’s creamiest root beer, and it sure is! With its no caffeine blend, Stewart’s root beer is a delight for your taste buds. The first thing that came to mind when we tasted this root beer was crème brûlée. It tastes exactly like one. 

Well, except for the hint of sassafras, of course. But if there was ever a sassafras flavored crème brûlée, Stewart’s root beer is what it would taste like. In addition, its iconic glass bottle and vintage vibe give you all the good root beer energy. 

  1. Dang! Butterscotch Root Beer

Dang, Butterscotch Root Beer is an odd but enchanting flavor. Whoever thought about adding butterscotch to root beer knew precisely what they were doing. 

The nutty goodness of butterscotch combined with the sweetness of root beer is delicious, to say the least, and this is why we consider Dang! Butterscotch root beer one of the top root beer brands.

We could definitely taste the butterscotch and a caramelized impression. “Heavenly dessert in a bottle” is a phrase we dedicate to Dang’s butterscotch root beer.

And yeah, it does make you go, “Dang! That’s good.” 

  1. Virgil’s Root Beer

Virgil’s Root Beer has been around for a long time, making sense. Virgil’s root beer checks all the right boxes for traditional root beer. The first sip of Virgil’s root beer is dominated by a bunch of spices which give it an added oomph and makes it our instant favorite.

Moreover, Virgil’s root beer is done right. With natural spices and ingredients, no caffeine, no gluten, and no artificial preservatives and flavors, Virgil’s root beer is almost a health drink (well, if you choose the zero-sugar version)!

  1. Mug Root Beer

Mug root beer is definitely one of the top root beer brands. The light crispiness of this drink made us instantly love it. People enjoy Mug root beer, especially for their roaring bulldog marketing. Mug root beer is primarily used to create a perfect root beer float with vanilla ice cream. Although, it is pretty decadent on its own too.

  1. Sioux City Root Beer

Sioux City root beer is a premium blend. With Madagascar vanilla and essential oils, the taste of this root beer is daunting and smells absolutely heavenly. This drink tastes expensive. We loved how strong and smooth the vanilla was. 

In addition, Sioux City bottles are Western embossed (I know, right!) and talk about putting in work, which absolutely shows.

  1. Sprecher Root Beer

Sprecher Root Beer is a widely loved beverage among root beer drinkers. The main reason is its deep and decadent flavor profile. 

Sprecher’s root beer uses pure Wisconsin honey and is brewed in a deep gas-fired barrel, taking plus, the rich taste of honey in Sprecher’s root beer took everything up to another level, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Why people love it will make perfect sense once you try this delicacy. 

  1. WBC Goose Island Root Boor

WBC Goose Island Root Boor is naturally caffeine free, made with 100% natural sugar, and has a refreshing spearmint finish. This root beer is addictive; once we took a sip, we couldn’t stop. The spearmint is strong but not overbearing, and we loved this one. WBC’s root beer is probably the most refreshing root beer you’ll have. Also, it has iconic packaging!

  1. Hank’s Root Beer

Hank’s root beer is just like any other classic root beer. They are based in Philadelphia, the same town root beer originated. It is traditional-style and made with pure cane sugar. Our review is: it tastes like a standard root beer, with no fancy schmancy and no extras. So if you want a classic, this won’t be a bad pick.

Vintage Root Beer Brands

Root Beer first hit the market in the 1840s. Charles Hires found the first brand of this classic beverage. As root beer became popular, more companies and breweries started making root beer. Not long after, it became a loved beverage that, two hundred years later, is still enjoyed by millions. 

Bundaberg’s Sarsparilla definitely takes the cake if we talk about which root beer is the most traditionally made. With its iconic vintage bottle, 3-day brew, and home-brewed blend, it tastes the most authentic.

Root beer brands that can be characterized as vintage:

  • Hire’s Root Beer
  • Virgil’s Root Beer
  • Bundaberg Australian Root Beer
  • 1919 Root Beer

How Many Root Beer Brands Are There

Countless root beer brands manufacture root beer worldwide. More than 114 root beer brands sell root beer in the United States and can be found at The Root Beer Store in Washington, DC. 

Divided among the two regions of Australia and North America, an uncountable number of brands make root beer, which is increasing every day. 

Which Brand Of Root Beer Is The Best

It isn’t easy to pinpoint one best root beer brands from hundreds of which exist. 

Hire’s root beer is the oldest and the OG, but unfortunately, it has lost its charm. 

In the park of flavored root beer, Dang’s Butterscotch root beer tastes pretty dang good, but most people do not prefer flavored root beers; they want to taste the classic, authentic flavor. So, unfortunately, the delicious Dang’s root beer is off the list.

Mug root beer is great, but it cant be enjoyed on its own. Mug root beer is perfect for a root beer float, not as an independent drink that will quench your root beer cravings. 

A&W made it pretty close to the best root beer rank. The only problem is that it is far from traditional. With its aluminum tin and heavy vanilla flavoring, A&W doesn’t really check all the right boxes for the perfect root beer. It is a lot of people’s favorite, but we can’t say the same. Sorry! 

Stewart’s root beer is a strong contender because of its creaminess. But sometimes, it gets almost too creamy and has an oily aftertaste. We would consider this beverage among the best if it wasn’t for the overpowering creaminess. 

Then we have Sprecher’s root beer. People love it. But it has lost its original taste. Instead, it keeps on getting sweeter and sweeter. Although sweet is the predominant flavor profile in root beer, Sprecher’s root beer overdoes it. And that is the reason Sprecher’s can’t be the best. 

Finally, Barq’s Root Beer takes the cake as the best root beer out there. This is the most traditional glass bottle of root beer. There are no extra flavors, and it tastes the most authentic, which is why Barq’s root beer is sold the most around the US and has a huge fanbase. 

No matter which root beer your peers like, you can always make your pick from the vast array of flavors that have shown up over the years. Root beer is a beverage with variety and can be enjoyed by everyone, and that’s the best thing about it. 


Root beer has been around for a long time. It has stayed and been loved in the market despite being one of the oldest sodas. Many brands have tested the recipe, altered it, and made their own, but the key ingredients and taste remained almost the same. 

That’s the remarkable thing about root beer; no matter how often it changes, the authentic taste always peers through.