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Who invented the root beer?

The popular carbonated drink called root beer was invented by an unnamed farmer's wife but was popularized by a pharmacist named Charles Hires.

Hires and his wife were served a drink made from 16 different wild roots and berries during their honeymoon on a New Jersey farm in the early 1860′s. The concoction, prepared by the farmer's wife, includes juniper, spikenard, wintergreen, hops, pipsissewa, and sarsaparilla.

Hires loved the drink so much and took home the recipe to sell in his drugstore in Philadelphia as root tea. A friend, who tasted the drink, told him to call it something more appealing like "Hires Root Beer" and the rest, as they say, is history. On May 16, 1866, root beer was born.

Charles Hires soda-pop business was the largest of its kind in the United States and the first to sell soda from New York to California, predating Coca-Cola which wasn't invented until 20 years later.

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