David Slone Talks about His Fascination with Root Beer

David Slone

David Slone

Today we talk with David Slone, Sales Manager and Used Car Manager of Weld County Garage. David Slone has a rather interesting hobby: collecting root beer.

Q: David, when did your fascination with root beer begin?

David Slone: Well, I guess it was about twelve years back when I got a package from one of my vendors. Inside were samples of Henry Weinhard’s® Root Beer.

Q: What made Weinhard’s® so special for you?

David Slone: It was such a great combination of yeast, sassafras, vanilla, licorice, black cherry and other flavors, all together.

Q: A complex combination.

David Slone: Yes, very much so, but they all work together on the tongue.

Q: I guess you could say that you were hooked?

David Slone: (laughs) Yeah, I was hooked. I had to start trying to find as many root beers as I could!

Q: Tell us more about the history of root beer.

David Slone: Sure, I’d be happy to. Root beer really goes back to Colonial times, when they referred to it as “small beer.”

Q: Was small beer alcoholic?

David Slone: Sometimes, yes, sometimes, no. It would include whatever ingredients they could find, really.

Q: I had no idea it went back so far.

David Slone: Well, you have to figure beer goes back about as far as cultivated grain does, and small beer would follow.

Q: Ingredients like what?

David Slone: Early recipes might include sarsaparilla, juniper, dandelion root, burdock, coriander, cinnamon, allspice, molasses and more.

Q: Fascinating! Who had the first commercially-available root beer, though?

David Slone: Commercially-bottled root beer started in the 1870s with Charles Hires. Hires was a Philadelphia pharmacist who fell in love with a herbal tea recipe.

Q: What did Charles Hires do then?

David Slone: He started putting ingredients together to develop a beverage derived from the tea. His drink used over 25 herbs, berries and roots, and made its debut at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial.

Q: Hires’ Root Beer has been around as long as I can remember. What other brands date back for years?

David Slone: Well, I found out that A&W® Root Beer had its debut back in 1919. A&W® was a partnership of Roy Allen and Frank Wright. Today, the brand is part of the Dr Pepper Snapple® group.

Q: Well, let’s get a little closer to what it is that makes root beer so appealing for you and others.

David Slone: No question, it’s the combinations of ingredients. There are so many recipes and varieties out there.

Q: What’s your current favorite?

David Slone: It’s hard to pick out a favorite root beer, there are so many good ones, but recently I got a case of Goose Island® delivered to my place of business.

Q: What was that like?

David Slone: Oh, I loved it! Had a nice spearmint sort of aftertaste.

Q: Isn’t there a Root-Beer-of-the-Month Club?

David Slone: Yes! It’s for real aficionados!

Q: What does membership in the club get you?

David Slone: You can find out more about root beer lore, regional root beers from around the country.

Q: Wow, what else?

David Slone: Well, you can even have sampler packs or sixes of the Root Beer of the Month delivered to your house.

Q: Thanks so much for taking some time with us today.

David Slone: Sure, and I hope you know a little more about root beer now!

David Slone is Sales Manager and Used Car Manager at Weld County Garage.

 

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