Who cares? Root Beer edition.

Before I left north america I was deep into an obsession with root beer. I even got my friend Camilla to make me a root beer cake for my 30th birthday etc. Even though all major sodas are available in Taiwan for some inexplicable reason there is no root beer, however, there is a locally produced beverage called HeySong Sasparilla which tastes nothing like root beer. Maybe Hey Song have powerful connections or worked out some deal with Coke or Pepsi to keep out root beer. I wrote to somebody awhile ago that it reminds me of chocolate that I tasted in Yugoslavia in 1989 which tasted like somebody had told somebody else about chocolate but the maker had never tasted it. Anyways much to my delight a week or so ago I discovered an annoying western yuppy style grocery store that carries A&W root beer with the exorbitant price tag of 35 NT$ which is over $1 US per can which is expensive for a grocery store. It is the most expensive soda I’ve found, even topping Orangina which can be found semi-easily for 25NT$. What’s kind of shcoking is that I always considered A&W at best, a fringe player in the root beer market primarily dominated by Barq’s and maybe Mug. The cheapskate in me and the inconvenience of the grocery store is preventing me from truly indulging.

One Response to Who cares? Root Beer edition.

  1. wornhill says:

    Staniforth speaks: Okay, so– Hires was somehow subsumed by Mug, right? And Barq’s took over A&W’s market? I always assumed that at that point in the history of root beer marketing there was some sort of upheaval and it was mainly about completely redesigning the brands– Barq’s is caffeinated, Mug is… not really dissimilar from Hires, but Mug was distributed by Pepsi, like Hires, and Barq’s by coke, like A&W. Is there more beneath the surface? And if you’re drinking root beer, in North America where quality root beer is available, are you really drinking coke/pepsi products when you could be drinking, for example, Real Brew (my vote for favourite root beer, ginger beer, and cream soda), or Henry Weinhardt’s? Mug/Hires/A&W/Barq’s all have a consistency of something like sputum, which I assumed to be the result of adding some strange chemical bean gum. And whatever happened to the availability of Sioux-City brands? Their birch beer was the bomb– you can’t get birch beer anywhere in Montreal! They also perplexingly offered both Root Beer and Sasparilla, which tasted very similar and which I’ve always assumed were two names for the same thing.

    On a mostly unrelated note, do you remember the Bloom County cartoon in which Bloom County explained various visual indicators in comics, including the little bubble-circles drawn around the head of a character to indicate drunkenness (“boozles”) which was illustrated with a cartoon of 10-year-old Milo Bloom drunkenly blowing up one of the character. His boozles, of course, are specified as “root boozles.”

    Response – Again you race in first with a response. Kudos for the absolutely lightning quickness, astounding, I’m starting to think that you have some sort of supercomputer that has a program to instantly respond to any email received, if you do indeed have said supercomputer or super program please forward all pertinent details. Bleu Ribbon again. The fact your email solely dealt with root beer is simply the icing on my happiness pie. I will respond to your root beer ‘facts’ when the sun rises once more.


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